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Cellphones Power

Standard Cellphone Chargers For Europeans 257

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the those-lucky-bastards dept.
k33l0r writes "The European Commission is confident that all major cellphone companies have reached an agreement on a standard cellphone charger for consumers within the EU. 'People will not have to throw away their charger whenever they buy a new phone,' said EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Apple, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung and Texas Instruments have all signed the agreement."
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Standard Cellphone Chargers For Europeans

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  • by furby076 (1461805) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:22PM (#28515263) Homepage
    Well this may carry over as a convenience to the US but I doubt it.(why have two plants making two different types of chargers when you can have one plant making one charger type). That why is Verizon & AT&T. They love locking people in, and since there are so many service carriers they do so with products (iPhone for one).

    Hopefully this will spread - but I doubt it.
  • Batteries too... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zebslash (1107957) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:25PM (#28515305)

    That would be nice to have a standard for Li-ion batteries too, from mobile phones to shavers and laptops. This way, it would be easier to recycle and replace batteries, lower costs and remove vendor-specific locks. I like alkaline batteries: around 4-5 different formats to power most of our stuff. With Li-ion, we have gained in power and time, but lost in flexibility. Is that so difficult to implement ?

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:28PM (#28515377) Homepage
    Overall this is a positive step. Yes current gen phone chargers/accessories won't be involved but such is life for new technology standards - some things get left behind. But from next year and on we will be using a standardized interface which will mean you only have to buy the product once. Since they are all the same expect better pricing ($20 for a charger = rip off). One of the things that kept me from going to a new product type was having to re-buy all of my accessories...i would have to negotiate with the sales person "new phone and contract needs to come with new chargers for my car, home, and work plus computer adapter or no deal"
  • by slb (72208) * on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:30PM (#28515419) Homepage

    A good exemple that sometimes the market is unable to find the most optimal solution and someone has to regulate.

  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:31PM (#28515439) Journal
    Any word on whether or not they'll be adding a cryptographic handshake that will lock the chargers down harder than connector swapping ever did?

    They could even adopt a wireless commerce model: "The charger you have connected is not an official 'Motorola by Verizon' brand charger. Press 'OK' to activate the charger for a payment of $29.95 or purchase an official charger." With cellphone location services, you could even do location based selective lockouts! "I'm sorry, your charger is authorized for home use only. Please subscribe to our 'Home and Business' charger plan or, for travellers, 'National Omnicharge Premium' for just $19.95 a month."

    Ah, evil.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:35PM (#28515497)

    ..is how even if it's a standard plug (mini or micro USB) they tweek the phone so it won't accept a standard USB cable rather you get the "Unauthorized Charger" message. Good for the EU... I wish the US consumer protection agencies would step up on issues like this that would make a difference.

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:40PM (#28515565) Homepage

    It's not too much of a lock-in. I can't imagine someone saying, "Man, I'd love to change carriers, but I just don't want to have to use a new charger (which comes with the free phone I'll get). I guess I'll stick with my current carrier!"

    My phone came with one charger. I keep a charger at my desk at home (so i can be on my computer and not worry about charging). But I like to have my phone by the bed in case someone calls me - so i dont have to run to the living room (plus it is a secondary alarm for me). So I need to be an additional charger. Then I need one for work (blue-tooth kills phones)...that's two chargers. Then I need one for the car (blue-tooth again, plus i travel a lot)... that's three chargers. Now I also like to connect the device to my computer to transfer files...4th accessory. I would prefer if i could just swap.

    The carriers do care - a lot of the profit for the stores is accessories. They try and push this on you like candy. They buy the chargers for $2-$3 from the manufacturer and sell them for $15 to $25. That's a big profit margin. It's also why you can generally negotiate them. They get a ton of money for selling you phone/service. They are not willing to lose that money so they will give you the chargers.

  • by joebok (457904) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:50PM (#28515695) Homepage Journal

    Actually, the market IS working in the environment that exists - that it, it is taking full advantage of the fact that the cell phone charging industry does not bear the external cost of disposing of perfectly good chargers every time we get a new device. We need the regulation to push that external cost to be part of the product - then market forces will adjust.

    Rather than a universal charger designed by committee and consensus, I'd rather see regulation aimed directly at closing off the externality. Like maybe requiring cell phone companies to accept old charges back for a credit. Or not being allowed to package a charger along with the phone - make the consumer buy them separately. I think something along those lines would have the same effect, getting better, cheaper, and universal chargers with minimal overhead.

    But either way, I sure hope it spills over to the US - and to other devices. If I have a device that needs 5v, seems like I should only need a transformer of the proper rating - not a random connector as well.

  • by teg (97890) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:51PM (#28515703) Homepage

    A good exemple that sometimes the market is unable to find the most optimal solution and someone has to regulate.

    While I agree that some regulation is necessary - among other things to maintain healthy competition and free markets - they didn't actually regulate it. They hinted that they might, so the vendors found a solution themselves instead. A gentle, but firm, push in the right direction.

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:57PM (#28515837) Homepage
    Because the chargers you buy from the misc. vendors are typically cheaper in quality. They are not as tuned to the device and may send power surges which could damage your phone. They are also not as efficient and this turns out into more energy use. Not noticeable for one person, but take into consideration that millions of people use these devices and that adds up to wasted energy.

    Think of your cell phone as your home computer (mine has important contact information, some pics, etc). Do you just plug your computer into the wall or do you use a surge protector (or even UPS device to prevent spikes/surges)? I use a nice UPS. I want my computer to not be damaged...I also don't want my phone to be damaged. I'd imagine someone who spent $500 on their iPhone GS want's to protect that investment too.
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday June 29, 2009 @01:06PM (#28516003) Homepage Journal
    "Then I need one for work (blue-tooth kills phones)."

    Why not just use the landline they provide you at work at your desk?

  • Induction chargers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <giles.jones@NOspam.zen.co.uk> on Monday June 29, 2009 @01:23PM (#28516227)

    Induction chargers are the solution, you don't need any sockets.

    Plus you can just place multiple items on it.

  • by Luthair (847766) on Monday June 29, 2009 @01:36PM (#28516445)
    Voting with your wallet only works if you have a viable option, and rarely is one actually available to the consumer. While a companies might have the buying power to push the individual rarely does which is why regulation is often necessary to solve this type of issue.
  • by richlv (778496) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:03PM (#28516877)

    I don't have the patience to actually send them in to the company, though.

    you just explained why they burn out in 3 months

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:12PM (#28517021) Homepage
    Why should we read articles before we comment on them? Congress doesn't read bills before they vote on them. By golly, it's the American way! :)
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:13PM (#28517039)

    Why not just use the landline they provide you at work at your desk?

    Do you really think he doesn't have a reason? I mean, give the 2456 user ID some benefit of the doubt here...

  • by itsme1234 (199680) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:17PM (#28517119)

    The market at least in the EU had already pretty much standardised on USB charging.. every non-nokia phone I've had used it. Nokia of course had to be different, but there's only 2 nokia charging standards and adapters are readily available (and since ~70% of the phones you see around are Nokias, it's a sort of standard).

    What this does is codify what was already happening.

    In what world is this already happening?! We bought at the office recently two Nokia, two Sony-Ericsson and one Samsung. They are beyond craziness with respect to connectors.

    - both Nokias have the "standard Nokia" thin connector that doesn't comply to ANY reasonable electric standard so you can't just connect it directly to USB or any power supply of any reasonable parameters. Specifications here: http://www.forum.nokia.com/info/sw.nokia.com/id/3378ff2b-4016-42b9-9118-d59e4313a521/Nokia_2-mm_DC_Charging_Interface_Specification_v1_2_en.pdf.html [nokia.com]
    - one Nokia HAS a standard mini (or micro?) USB connector but it won't charge over it
    - the other Nokia has a USB connector that LOOKS like mini but it doesn't fit anything but a specific Nokia cable. It still doesn't charge over it
    - both S-E are equally crazy. You need to connect the headphones to the bottom of the phone via a proprietary connector! This is where power and USB cable also go! Still they would charge over USB but you need the proprietary cable and you need to have the proper drivers in the OS (yes, to charge). Because everything connects there you have interesting combinations like you can't charge when listening to the headphones or you can't listen to the radio while charging (because radio needs the headphones plugged in for antenna)
    - Samsung has some kind of crazy flat connector, did not take a close look but certainly not USB of any kind
    - for S-E and Samsung the old chargers don't fit the new phones.

    I see this as a BIG MOVE for Europe.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Monday June 29, 2009 @03:33PM (#28518239) Homepage
    It will be the blind leading the blind . . . . into oblivion!
    Oh, such a jolly good time it will be.

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