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Mobile Phone Industry Back European Calls For Universal Handset Charger

Mobile phone manufacturers worldwide, including Apple, have promised to offer a standard mobile phone charger as early as next year to save millions in terms of related mobile phone costs.

The move, announced in February, comes as the European Commission has pushed forward the idea of using micro USB as the standard connector for mobile phones and smartphones in Europe and across the world.

EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen was particularly keen on the proposal to go through, adding "People will not have to throw away their charger whenever they buy a new phone.”

It is estimated that around 51,000 tons of mobiles chargers are thrown away every year as vendors use proprietary connectors to keep away competitors and rivals. Throwing away chargers not only cost money but generate a significant amount of waste.

A single charger would replace around more than 30 different chargers in one swoop and could potentially save around £1 per mobile phone. The Commission had to do a bit of arm twisting though to coerce the mobile phone industry to accept tha changes.

There are more than 400 million mobile phones in Europe with around half being recycled or thrown away every year and replaced by new models. 10 companies, which control 90 percent of the market in Europe, will be involved in the deal.

Motorola, Apple, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung and Texas Instruments have signed the agreement. It is likely that others such as Palm and HTC will follow suit soon.

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Our Comments

As one commentator said, this is sheer common sense and should have been done long ago. Furthermore, the move means that mobile phone packages could be smaller and mobile chargers could soon shrink to a fraction of its current size especially if punters choose to use their computers to charge mobile phones.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.