17 major mobile operators and manufacturers together with the GSM Association have pledged to introduce a cross-industry standard by 2012 for a common mobile phone charger that will use the Micro USB interface.
The move is set to reduce the amount of energy consumed by standby by half and eliminate up to 51,000 tons of duplicate chargers, that's more than 1 billion mobile phone chargers.
The aim is expected to be reached by 2012 with a universal charging solution based around the micro USB connector adopted as the universal charging interface.
Members of the group have also accepted that the majority of chargers shipped by then will have to adhere to the stringent targets set out by the Open Mobile Terminal Platform and are expected to consume a third of the power used by traditional chargers.
More than a billion chargers are sold every year and some manufacturers like Nokia, are already offering mobile phones without chargers in a bid to cut down on costs and encourage people to reuse their chargers.
The concerted action of the mobile industry was encouraged by the European Commission; the EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen stated that the EC could be taking measures to reduce the bewildering number of chargers that all essentially do one thing.
The move could also give rise to much smaller multi plugs as the chargers themselves get designed to sustain more than one device. Furthermore, it could lead to a more widespread adoption of the micro USB format for everything, from digital cameras to netbooks.
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The batch of companies who have joined the GSMA's UCS initiative include 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone. Apple is conspicuously absent from this list.