In what could very well become the mobile industry’s most high-profile move towards greener technology, HTC is preparing to launch a new flagship smartphone that will ship without a charger, the Guardian has reported.
"A unified [mobile phone charger] across all manufacturers and retailers would dramatically decrease the industry's carbon footprint, not only in terms of manufacturing but also packaging and transport,” said HTC’s UK regional director Phil Roberson.
The still-unnamed device, which is expected to be announced soon, may be a 5in version of the Taiwanese company’s current flagship One X handset.
According to network operator O2, which will lead the effort, the default bundling of chargers with new handsets is a redundant endeavour. Some 70 per cent of UK buyers already have compatible chargers for the 30 million new phones sold every year. Accordingly, HTC has in the past said it plans to end the practice of including chargers with new phones by 2015.
Customers will be able to purchase a charger at cost price from O2, and the smartphone will reportedly ship with a USB cable for plugging into chargers they already own.
“Right now, O2 with HTC has to go it alone on this matter – we both believe in it passionately enough that we can't wait for the industry as a whole to join us in this crusade. The environmental cost of multiple and redundant chargers is enormous and I believe that, as the mobile phone has become more prevalent, we as retailers and manufacturers have an ever-greater responsibility to be a more sustainable industry,” said O2 CEO Ronan Dunne.
"In the last few years, our sector has made progress towards a universal charging solution, although not nearly as fast as I would have liked. As a result, we have fallen short of our original promise as an industry to standardise charging across all handsets,” Dunne added, referring to a plan for a universal phone charger that has since been forgotten.
In 2009, leading phone companies, including giants such as Apple, Samung, LG, and Motorola, agreed to take steps towards adopting a universal microUSB connector in a bid to minimise the waste associated with their products. But, despite the commitment, no such connector has materialised.