Handset Makers Agree to Standard Charger
Searching for a phone charger that works with your phone will soon be a thing of the past, as the world's ten major mobile phone manufacturers have agreed to produce a harmonised charger for users across Europe, with the first such chargers expected to be introduced on the EU market next year.
"Major producers of mobile phones have agreed to harmonise chargers in the EU," the European Commission announced on Monday (29 June).
The companies in question – which include Apple (AAPL), LG, Motorola (MOT), Nokia (NOK), Samsung, and Sony Ericsson – represent 90 percent of Europe's mobile phone market.
The phone manufacturers submitted a memorandum of understanding to the commission after Brussels had called on them to come forward with a voluntary proposal in order to avoid legislation.
The agreement is not legally binding, however.
At the moment there are more than 30 different types of chargers for phones across Europe, as specific mobile phones are sold with their specific chargers. Making the situation worse, anyone who wants to change their mobile phone needs to throw away the old charger as well.
Under the fresh agreement, a universal charger, which will use a mini-USB connection, should be made available from 2010.
"I am very pleased that industry has found an agreement, which will make life much simpler for consumers," EU industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen said in Brussels, welcoming the deal.
"They will be able to charge mobile phones anywhere from the new common charger. This also means considerably less electronic waste, because people will no longer have to throw away chargers when buying new phones."
"I am also very pleased that this solution was found on the basis of self-regulation," he added.
The universal charger principle should also be expanded to cameras and laptops in the years ahead, according to the commissioner.
British Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour, member of the consumer affairs committee in the European Parliament, also welcomed the agreement.
"The days of drawers full of useless old mobile phone chargers will soon be over. Common sense has prevailed," Mr Harbour stated.
"We will no longer have to worry about forgetting our chargers and having to ask around to find one that is compatible. This agreement will also encourage more chargers to be recycled, preventing electronic waste," he added.
When the new agreement enters into force and universal chargers reach the market, the number of chargers produced each year could be cut in half, according to the industry.