ITU Approves Universal Phone Charger

Micro USB (thumb)

The International Telecommunications Union has given its approval to a universal one-size-fits-all charger design for mobile phones, with the idea that all telephone supporting the standard will be able to charge their batteries using the same device, rather than relying on chargers specific to a particular product line or even a device. The idea is not only to make it simpler for the more than four billion mobile phone users on the planet to charge their phone, but also to cut back on the tremendous waste associated with chargers those users discard when the move to a new phone.

“This is a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging, which also has the benefit of making mobile phone use more straightforward,” said the the director of the ITU’s Telecommunications Standardization Bureau Malcolm Johnson, in a statement. “Universal chargers are a commonsense solution that I look forward to seeing in other areas.”

The new universal chargers will include a four-star or higher energy efficiency rating; as a result, the ITU forecasts industry-wide adoption of universal phone chargers will result in a 50 percent reduction in standby energy consumption. That, in turn, would result in 13.6 million fewer tons of greenhouse gasses being pumped into the atmosphere every year.

The new chargers are based on a micro-USB interface, and was developed in conjunction with the the GSM Association. The standard is backed b major mobile players like AT&T, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile, and Vodafone…and even Apple, although they were a little late to the game.