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Universal Phone Charger Approved By UN Body

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-i-like-the-seventeen-i-have dept.

Cellphones 220

andylim writes "Plans for a universal mobile phone charger have been approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations body. The charger has a micro-USB port at the connecting end, using technology similar to what is commonly used with digital cameras. It is not compulsory for manufacturers to adopt the new chargers, but the ITU says that some have already signed up to it. 'We are planning to launch the universal charger internationally during the first half of 2010,' Aldo Liguori, spokesperson for Sony Ericsson told the BBC."

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220 comments

Huh? (2)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855707)

My last three phones have all had a mini-usb charge/data port.

It's pretty much the standard already.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855799)

My last two digital cameras had mini-usb ports, neither was physically the same.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855825)

My last two digital cameras had mini-usb ports, neither was physically the same.

Then, by definition, they were not mini-usb ports.

Both Micro and MiniUSB jacks are standardized. If your two cameras didn't use a common connector, then there's a good chance that at least one of the two was using a proprietary jack for USB.

Re:Huh? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856377)

there are micro A and micro B ports, so they could have been those he was referring too

Re:Huh? (5, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855849)

Now all we need is a universal standard of (in the words of Douglas Adams) 'little dongly things' for everything else:

http://www.douglasadams.com/dna/980707-03-a.html [douglasadams.com]

'The little dongly things I am concerned with (and they are by no means the only species of little dongly things with which the micro-electronics world is infested) are the external power adaptors which laptops and palmtops and external drives and cassette recorders and telephone answering machines and powered speakers and other incredibly necessary gizmos need to step down the mains AC supply from either 120 volts or 240 volts to 6 volts DC. Or 4.5 volts DC. Or 9 volts DC. Or 12 volts DC. At 500 milliamps. Or 300 milliamps. Or 1200 milliamps. They have positive tips and negative sleeves on their plugs, unless they are the type that has negative tips and positive sleeves. By the time you multiply all these different variables together you end up with a fairly major industry which exists, so far as I can tell, to fill my cupboards with little dongly things none of which I can ever positively identify without playing gizmo pelmanism. The usual method of finding a little dongly thing that actually matches a gizmo I want to use is to go and buy another one, at a price that can physically drive the air from your body...It's hard to imagine that some of the mightiest brains on the planet, fuelled by some of the finest pizza that money can buy, haven't at some point thought 'Wouldn't it be easier if we all just standardised on one type of DC power supply?'...I strongly suspect that if you stuck a hardware engineer in a locked room for a couple of days and taunted him with the smell of pepperoni, he'd probably be able to think of a way of making whatever gizmo (maybe even the new gizmo Pro, which I've heard such good things about) it is he's designing, work to a standard DC low-power supply.'

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856523)

I'd be happy if they simply killed off the wall wart.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856667)

The wall-wart contains the circuitry that converts 110vac/240vac to low voltage DC. Killing the wall wart means that same circuitry goes into the device, meaning that devices will now be larger by the size of the wall wart.

More sensible would be to simply make everything charge via USB, as USB is already a low-power DC source, and most low power (say 10W and under) devices can be made to work from it. Future versions of USB could even be made to allow higher current delivery, allowing higher draw devices to be connected.

Devices like modem routers though will always have a wall wart, unless you want them to be obscenely large and heavy. I'm happy for those devices to stay as-is however, as the vast majority of them are 12V 1A or below, so I just bought a dozen 12V 1A adapters from eBay once, and now I don't have to worry about losing them as they all work with each others' adapters.

Just remember, as long as the voltage is the same, the adapter can work. Most devices will have their input voltage stamped on them near the power jack, match it with an adapter and off you go. Just make sure that the adapter is capable of delivering as much or more current than necessary.

E.g., a modem router than says "Input 12v 500mA" will work just fine with my standard 12v 1A adapters.

Re:Huh? I mean...HUH? (0, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856217)

Thank gawd the UN is on top of the really important issues affecting humankind.

I was worried they'd be effin' around with stuff like climate change, human rights and nuclear proliferation.

I can sleep peacefully in the knowledge that the world is in capable hands.

Now I hope they do something about those flimsy little plastic caps on the milk jugs that are always falling into the garbage disposal. And the floor mat on the passenger side of my BMW M5 that always gets knocked askew when someone gets in or out.

Great! (1, Redundant)

Grimnir512 (1449641) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855709)

Now I can take my UK charger to America and still have to but a new adapter/charger!

Re:Great! (2, Informative)

Plunky (929104) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855929)

Now I can take my UK charger to America and still have to but a new adapter/charger!

Well I'm not sure your comment makes a lot of sense, since you can already take your UK based charger (240v, 50Hz) to America and plug it in the nearest wall socket (110v, 60Hz) with a travel adaptor and it will work just fine! This is not a new thing, nearly all PSU's produced in the last 10-15 years have been light switch mode voltage converters rather than the older transformers which were heavy and expensive to make..

Re:Great! (1)

Grimnir512 (1449641) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856093)

I know that, but if you read my post I said that you'd have to buy an adapter or charger. Either way you'd still end up paying money. However I suppose if you brought a laptop (it's certainly the sort of thing I'd take to America) then you could charge using USB.

Re:Great! (1)

Plunky (929104) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856151)

I know that, but if you read my post I said that you'd have to buy an adapter or charger. Either way you'd still end up paying money. However I suppose if you brought a laptop (it's certainly the sort of thing I'd take to America) then you could charge using USB.

Frankly, after reading stories on slashdot, I wouldn't recommend you take a laptop to America anyway but if you did, how were you proposing to charge it without a travel adaptor? Its a different country and there is always going to be some expense when travelling..

Re:Great! (1)

ivan_w (1115485) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856227)

Uh ?

And how in the world are you going to recharge your laptop if you don't have an adapter ?

Btw.. power socket adapters cost like .99€ a piece (just don't buy them at the airport where they'll probably charge you 20€ for a crappy universal travel adapter).

If you're planning on traveling aboard, I suggest you look a bit ahead and buy a handful of those before you leave. And you don't have top throw them away.. you can use them the next time you go back.. 5€ investment for a lifetime of travel!

--Ivan

Re:Great! (2, Insightful)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856631)

(just don't buy them at the airport where they'll probably charge you 20€ for a crappy universal travel adapter).

Don't worry. Someone will find the way to make a terrorist threat out of socket adapters and they'll be forbidden to travel with unless bought sealed at the airport.

Re:Great! (3, Informative)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856119)

My HTC charger comes with several separate pin configurations in the box. I just attach the correct one to the charger and off I go. Welcome to the 21st century. I don't need a different charger and I don't need to buy a travel adaptor.

Re:Great! (1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855939)

Or... you could just carry a USB-to-microUSB adapter cable, and plug it into the laptop you brought with you, or your American friends' PCs.

Re:Great! (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856301)

Not all phones will recharge this way without extra work. A co-worker and I just had a look at his new Blackberry, which refused to charge from his laptop unless proprietary software was also installed, and it refused to work with a discharged battery until at least 10 minutes after he first reconnected power and it had recharged the battery somewhat. Every other phone or portable device I've worked with worked _immediately_ after providing external power.

Standards are helpful, and I'd love to see a drop in the number of stupid adapters on the shelves of hardware stores and Staples, but amazingly stupid behavior like that Blackberry's can still be layered on top of good standards.

Re:Great! (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856485)

This is also true for my Palm Centro, I think it does not send the proper amount of juice until the driver is installed...

Re:Great! (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856731)

Oh, I'm sure the USB device _sends_ the juice: USB specs are well known and maximum voltages and currents cannot be normally exceeded with just software. No, the device is not _accepting_ the juice, probably as part of its need for quick-charge controller cleverness.

I hope Apple adopts this (2, Insightful)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855717)

Although it is funny to watch all the iPhone users I work with scrabble about sharing one cable at work between them whilst we drown in a sea of standard USB cabling!

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (0)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855751)

I doubt you have a lot of micro USB connectors around either; currently, they are mostly used by Nokia phones and little else.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (4, Insightful)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855759)

Not true at all.

My blackberry Tour has it. My Blackberry Storm had it, and so did my LG Dare.

Definitely not limited to Nokia.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855863)

Not true at all.

My blackberry Tour has it. My Blackberry Storm had it, and so did my LG Dare.

Definitely not limited to Nokia.

My LG Lotus has it as well. The Lotus still flashes a message on the screen if you end up plugging the USB cable into any USBWallWart other than the one that came with the phone. *le sigh*

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855931)

..and pretty much most, if not all, HTC models produced in the last 4+ years.

OP is very wrong.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

Plunky (929104) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855985)

In fact, the HTC models use a proprietary 11-pin connection that happens to be backwardly compatible with the 5-pin micro-USB. The extra 4 pins are for audio, presumably because providing a USB stack would be a bit expensive for a headset..

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855855)

Wait is micro usb different from the "mini" usb that's on my camcorder, extnl hard drive, and several other things i've got lying around?

I guess so; wik has "the now-deprecated (but standardized) Mini-A and the currently standard Mini-B, Micro-A, and Micro-B connectors"

wtf? After standardizing *on the micro connector, someone will need to look into standardizing *it.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (2, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855957)

After standardizing *on the micro connector, someone will need to look into standardizing *it.

Yes, reading the wikipedia page it seems that the micro socket is rated for many many more insertions than the older "mini" socket

On the other hand, I would prefer that my mobile phone in the future didn't have any kind of socket. I want to see induction charging where you just lay it on a charging plate (possibly with other devices at the same time) and just use Bluetooth or whatever for data connectivity.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (0, Troll)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855865)

Every time I hear nokia, it's always positive. They like open source and dislike lock in, have the best phones, and have standard connectors.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (2, Informative)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856079)

Well, they did sell internet surveillance equipment to Iran and successfully lobbied for a law in Finland that allows them to spy on their employees. Nobody's perfect and Nokia happens to be into surveillance. Still one of the less appalling mobile phone manufacturers, though.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856361)

Except for helping Iran with censorship. Minor details.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856419)

I don't know the story there, but was it no worse than when Google helped China with censorship? To me that was a grey area as it was the better of the two 'evils' in my opinion.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (3, Informative)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855959)

Well, Nokia uses the Micro USB connector. And Sony Ericsson seems to be on board as well.

Just by market share alone [wirelessweek.com] those two make up more than 45% of the world wide market for new phones.

Get any of LG, Samsung or Motorola to sign up for this, and you're looking at more than 50% of the market for new cell phones.

But even with 45% of the market for new phones, it's still a massive incentive for the rest of the market. You could end up with a situation where new phones don't come with a charger, and you pay maybe 10 bucks for a new one if you need it. After all, with 45% of new cell phones needing this kind og charger, that's a huge opportunity for selling them separately.

I, for one, would like to see something similar happen to laptops as well, even though my 95W power brick is over sized for a netbook, it'd be nice not to have to pay a minor fortune to find the right one.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856089)

I remember that Apple commented they'll stick with their dock connector but plan on making an adapter available. This will definitely become supported by virtually everyone within two or three years.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856599)

Oh, don't get me wrong: I think it's a good thing, and I hope this will accelerate adoption. It is, after all, the new USB standard.

I'm just saying that most people don't have micro-USB cables lying around just yet.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

BobisOnlyBob (1438553) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856243)

Nokia's here in the UK are almost entirely still circular jacks, mostly 3.5mm jacks with a smattering of 2mm jacks. I found a lovely charger that's a 3.5mm with a 3.5-2mm adaptor and I'm making do with it. Still, if the fragile 2mm pin breaks like my last one, I'll definitely be craving a standardised USB one.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856755)

Nokia's here in the UK are almost entirely still circular jacks, mostly 3.5mm jacks with a smattering of 2mm jacks. I found a lovely charger that's a 3.5mm with a 3.5-2mm adaptor and I'm making do with it. Still, if the fragile 2mm pin breaks like my last one, I'll definitely be craving a standardised USB one.

Funny, I was under the impression they'd been moving away from the larger jacks for some years. My last Nokia also had a micro USB port but it couldn't charge from it for some odd reason.

Re:I hope Apple adopts this (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856565)

What many forget is that the dock connector was not originally a USB solution, it was a firewire connector. This was because USB was so slow. My first player was a USB device and I hardly ever changed the music because it took forever to load.

Of course Apple has left the firewire world, so there is no reason to keep the fancy connector except for backward compatibility and to earn licensing fees. I assume that the later will motivate them to maintain the standard, at least for while longer. I do suspect they will supply a dock connector to micro USB connector.

On another note, phones has had USB type adapters since at least 2003. Not all of these would charge without the proprietary adaptor, so although the presence of the connector is nothing new, the ability to charge from any device is a welcome develoment.

The UN? (-1, Troll)

lewko (195646) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855725)

Oh no. The UN are trying to organise something? Terrific.

Europe will try and shaft American companies, the Arabs will refuse to play ball and the other minor dictatorships, religious theocracies and tinpot corrupt little villages which comprise the UN will sell their vote to the highest bidder.

Re:The UN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855773)

Yes, the ITU has such a terrible track record. /facepalm

Finally (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855737)

If Apple would now implement a micro-USB port onto the iPhone instead of that dock connector.

And preferably something easy to take out. The end of the cable that came with my iPhone is rather small and hard to pull compared to the one that came with my 2nd gen. Nano.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855901)

"...The end of the cable that came with my iPhone is rather small and hard to pull compared to the one that came with my 2nd gen. Nano."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk

Re:Finally (5, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855953)

Apple have already signed an agreement and stated they will be using a standard micro-usb socket on the iPhones in the future. I believe Apple will introduce this socket in 2010.

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE55S1XZ20090629 [reuters.com]

Re:Finally (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856117)

Didn't the last /. story mention that Apple signed the agreement but wanted to keep the dock connector? IIRC they wanted to make an adapter.

I wouldn't complain if they did just switch to micro-USB, though. Essentially they trade one socket for which cheap cables are available for another with more ubiquitous cheap cables.

Re:Finally (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856445)

I'd have rather that they licensed the dock connector. It's a nice design and can carry power, FireWire, USB, audio and video signals. Going to USB seems like a step backwards.

ITU, the folk who should run the WWW. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855739)

This folks is one of the two UN organisations (both older than the UN) who could run the WWW better than ICANN. The other being the Postal Union (UPU or IPU I think they changed their name).

So, there you go, the UN is not just the political shit. The ITU is what means that you can phone from point A to point B, they are the logical choice for control over the WWW and domain name system.

Re:ITU, the folk who should run the WWW. (-1, Flamebait)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855909)

really? how other than allowing the .xxx domain if you really think that would be an improvement. Just what has ICANN messed up so bad?
So far ICANN has done a really good job of messing things up and not censoring so I just don't see any need for change except for some silly need to fix a system that is working by making it more "international'. Sorry folks but most of the countries on this rock do not believe in freedom of speech. There are even counties in the EU that don't believe in the same level of political free speech as the US.
In the end you might get more freedom of porn and less freedom of ideas. Sort of a Internet version of Brave New World.

Re:ITU, the folk who should run the WWW. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856173)

Lay off the Kool-Aid, please.

Re:ITU, the folk who should run the WWW. (1)

ivan_w (1115485) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856345)

Cough cough !!!

Since when does ICANN run the WWW ? (and what the heck is "The WWW" ? - No The internet is not *only* about HTML transiting over HTTP thank you..)

But this put aside, I don't think it is the role of the ITU to govern over anything like HTTP, HTML, the Domain Name System (which is only governed by ICANN up to the point where you pick their root servers as a hint).

ITU is about telecommunication. It describes how information gets from point A to point B - and NOT the actual payload.. For example, the ITU does lay out the groundwork so that someone in some part of the world can make a call to someone else in another part of the world, but they do NOT specify what language you then use on the phone, what a standard greeting message is and the protocol used when talking with one another over the phone line.. Same for the IPU.. They ensure postal service is carried within their jurisdiction (which is something like 95% countries) - but certainly does not state how you should write a letter !

--Ivan

Re:ITU, the folk who should run the WWW. (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856659)

Some people apparently can't believe that a decentralized, peer network can run itself.

We have got to get this thing under control, people!

similar to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855743)

The charger has a micro-USB port at the connecting end, using technology similar to what is commonly used with digital cameras.

Well, cameras tend to use mini-USB, so it's "similar to" insofar as they're both USB variants. In which case they may as well have said that it's "similar to" just about anything that hooks up to a computer via any form of USB. Also interesting that they've gone with micro-USB, as I've never seen a micro port on anything except for a tiny flash drive I have. The plug is almost too small, quite honestly.

They picked the wrong connector? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856219)

Oh well, this just means we'll see overpriced micro-mini adapters from Monster Cable with oxygen free dual overhead cam gold plated contacts in every phone store.

Re:similar to? (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856347)

My wife's new phone has a micro-USB port for the charger, but the only way to add data is via a micro-SD card.

My Motorola RAZR V3r is mini-usb, as well as my chi-pod and the digital camera that I use at work. One charger to rule them all, one charger to bind them.

With the seem editor and file manager in moto4lin I can tweak the RAZR as much as I want, as a result of which I have avoided getting a new phone for several years. Motorola doesn't make RAZR anymore, afaik.

Mini-USB is convenient and I wouldn't mind seeing it in everything. The micro-USB doesn't seem as robust, but it may simply be unfamiliar.

I wish they had an international charger for all (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855813)

voltages. You know, without lugging various plugs along and all that.

The closest to this is the humble car charger, but as far as I can tell, sadly airports and hotels I've been at don't have 12v sockets handy (maybe I didn't look hard enough and be wrong). There isn't always access to a car and in a lot of places, you don't exactly want to leave expensive electronics in one.

Re:I wish they had an international charger for al (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855845)

This should hopefully get you one step closer to that. Assuming the phones don't require a "smart" USB connection, all you should need is a USB wall plug (of the correct type, obivously). From there, you just use your USB-microUSB cable.

Re:I wish they had an international charger for al (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856013)

The plugs are annoying, but you can literally get a set for under ten bucks. It's usually not that hard to plan ahead and carry the one or two you will need for the countries you're visiting. Practically all phone chargers run on 100-240V, anywhere fom 50-60 Hz (and probably then some!) and all you need is the plug.

Finally (2, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855829)

It's good to have a standard, pity it's 10 years late. Also, why the hell is this not mandatory?

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855897)

Because the EU thought that it would be faster to reach a voluntary standard:
http://www.euractiv.com/en/infosociety/eu-threatens-new-legislation-universal-mobile-chargers/article-180693

And by the way, I already have this on my Nokia N86.

Re:Finally (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855993)

Because the UN was never given the power to mandate an electronic design. They can offer an opinion (recommendation) but that's it.

Nor should the UN make that grab for power, because once you go down that road, eventually the UN will start mandating what kind of roof you can install on your house. It's bad enough I have Congress telling me how much corn/potatoes I can or cannot grow in my own backyard. They were never granted that power under the Constitution, but since the mid-1930s they've exercised the power. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn [wikipedia.org]

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856525)

I don't think it should be mandatory -- for accessibility reasons. I have a friend with Parkinson's disease that had a really difficult time with the micro-usb. Luckily there were alternatives available that he could manage better.

Re:Finally (3, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856781)

What twisted your mind into thinking, a non-elected group, that is not even remotely connected to the constitutions of the countries in it, and is none of the 3 pillars of a government, would have any jurisdiction in those countries?

That would be totalitarian dictatorship. Plain and simple.

Additionally, where would you go, if that totalitarian global, all-encompassing dictatorship, would happen to not like your views and actions?? There would be not other country to flee to. The concept of asylum would cease to exist.

And you just talked about it, like it were something normal...
I fear for this world...

Re:Finally (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856801)

It is really that big of deal? I have never really been bothered by a variety of Cell Phone chargers. I get a new phone every 3 or 4 years, my charger that comes with the phone usually lasts longer then the phone. The only charger I had problem with wasn't with the charger but stupid engineering by the part of Motorola where they made the connector on the phone not click in well and make it difficult to get a full charge as it will wiggle out after a few minutes. However even with standard phone chargers the same thing can occur.

For the most part my phones I had for the past 11 years all kept their charge for the full day. When I got home I plugged them in and when I got up the next morning I had a fully charged phone for the day. This push for standardizing phone charges just seems silly and not worth the effort.

I have more issues with standard sizing for plumbing fittings. Where the hose that goes to the toilet doesn't fit the hose that goes to the sink, and if you took a look at them and eyeballed it you probably wouldn't see the difference, inconsistent combinations of male and female connectors.

Micro-USB? (1, Insightful)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855869)

Great. Now I can have everything limited to charging at, at a maximum, 500 mA @ 5 V! Just what I've always want... oh wait, I think the charging times for most of my gadgets are already too long. If you can't charge to full capacity within a lunch break, it takes too damned long.

Re:Micro-USB? (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855933)

That's just what the current USB standard says a port must provide.

But it doesn't stop a wall charger from providing as much as the cable can bear, which has got to be quite a bit more.

Re:Micro-USB? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856051)

But if it's a USB connector on the end, it will have to abide by that standard, since the spec says "maximum 5V, 500mA" and this universal connector can then be hooked up to your other device, that is not expecting a non standard voltage across those pins and dies when you plug it in.

The whole point about it being standard is that you can absolutely rely on the specification when you make a product that fits with it - wether that be the width of a rack mount unit, the voltage across 2 pins in a connector, or the diameter of the tyres for your car.

If they're going to use the microUSB connector and then just supply any old voltage and current that they want, then we're worse off than before!

Re:Micro-USB? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856127)

Charging rate is controlled by the Amperes you MUPPET.

Re:Micro-USB? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856383)

But *voltage* is important. I know that a device will only draw as much current as it needs, even if the PSU can deliver more, but if the device is expecting 5V across the pins and in reality it is 9V or 12V, then it has the potential to damage the device.

I don't think you understand electronics, you MUPPET, current is irrelevant (as long as the PSU can satisfy the demand of the device, ie available I > load I), if the voltage is wrong.

Try putting 48V into a system designed for 12V and see what happens, or connect a non-switching PSU set up for 120VAC into a socket that provides 230VAC.

Voltage matters. That will have to be a potential difference between us, Mr AC. Ha.

Re:Micro-USB? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856139)

But if it's a USB connector on the end, it will have to abide by that standard, since the spec says "maximum 5V, 500mA" and this universal connector can then be hooked up to your other device, that is not expecting a non standard voltage across those pins and dies when you plug it in.

The reason for that requirement is to specify that an USB device can demand at most 500mA of current from the port. So any normal USB device must work with that much, unless external power is provided.

It also makes life much easier for laptops. 2.5W * 4 ports = 10W, which is quite a bit, considering some laptops use just 20W by themselves.

There's nothing wrong with providing more than necessary though. If something happens to be willing to give you 5W, there's nothing wrong with using it. It's very common already. There are universal chargers that will provide 10W from an USB socket.

BTW, nobody said anything about non-standard voltages. Providing more current never hurts anything. (Yes, I know some things like LEDs do care, but you never plug those directly into a power supply without current limiting circuitry in the middle)

The whole point about it being standard is that you can absolutely rely on the specification when you make a product that fits with it - wether that be the width of a rack mount unit, the voltage across 2 pins in a connector, or the diameter of the tyres for your car.

But it does fit the spec exactly. The connector is the right shape, the wiring is what it should be, the voltage is 5V, and it will provide 500mA.

The rack has a specified width, height, screws, etc. But I bet the standard doesn't forbid making the rack out of titanium to make it bear more weight than a rack made of steel would. If the standard says "Rack must bear 20KG in each 1U slot", it doesn't mean you can't make a rack that can bear 40KG.

Re:Micro-USB? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856401)

As long as it is only 5V - continuing the rack mount analogy, greater current from the port is fine, that's like building the rack from a stronger material, but making the rack 19.5" wide so you can fit custom shock absorbers or some other reason breaks the spec irrevocably, requiring spacers for all standard 19" equipment now, or a potential divider between your PSU and device expecting 5V.

Re:Micro-USB? (5, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856213)

By using micro USB, they did paint themselves in a corner for the 5 volts. However, the current provided has to be a minimum of 500mA according to the USB specs.

Having a power adapter able to supply more than 500mA won't blow up anything since the device should also work within spec and work with a minimum of 500mA.

Chargers being able to supply 5 volts at 2A won't blow up anything and recharge devices four times faster, if required/supported by the device. If not, the device will only take 500mA and the charger just won't be working at its full capacity of 2A.

I wonder if the new phone charger standard mentions a "from 500mA up to X amps" specification or not.

Re:Micro-USB? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856427)

My original post should have mentioned that only the voltage is a fixed requirement, as long as the minimum current is 500mA per port.

The USB spec defines that minimum current, just as defines a fixed 5V. The problem with such a small voltage is that you really extract a lot of energy, you have to ramp the current up if you want to power more thirsty devices.

It shouldn't affect mobile phones, but a laptop needs a little more juice - 5V at 2 amps isn't really going to cut it, 5 V at 5 amps might, but then your cabling has to be able to deal with the higher current - it's much easier to just up the voltage a little and keep the current low.

Re:Micro-USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856019)

If your computer can only give 500 mA @ 5 V via USB does not mean that you cannot have external charger that can give more via electric socket.

Those phones come with charger that takes power from electric socket and it is attached to same USB port.

Re:Micro-USB? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856201)

Is there a problem with using USB3 instead?

Re:Micro-USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856813)

USB 3 uses light to obtain faster data speeds.. no change in power specs

only half the battle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29855889)

next up is convicing manufacturers to NOT put chargers in every phone package. Nor the stores to offer them for free. If its free, you'll take it for a spare.

if they put a charger in every package then there will be zero fewer chargers floating around in the world.

flood the market with a decent, efficient charger say for £5/$10 and then things will start to improve.

Whew! (2, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855893)

Glad to see the UN is tackling the important stuff first.

Re:Whew! (4, Insightful)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855991)

Because ITU members would otherwise be working on world peace?

Re:Whew! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856463)

Well, they've got all of the world's telephone systems connected together, and communication is an important step towards peace...

Re:Whew! (2, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856785)

The ITU is a pretty decent organization going back to 1865 with establishment of international standards for telegraphy.

One proposal was to put them in charge of the root name servers. It wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen.

Important (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855969)

Why this was tagged !important is beyond me. This only has plus points! It is a very important step in reducing carbon- and other needless emissions. Imagine how much this saves in copper and other materials! The price of phones and other appliances can go down a small bit because the consumer doesn't have to pay for a charger every time it buys a new one. Packages become smaller so shipping new phones costs less energy. Shops can store more phones in the same space, so the chance that the phone you want is out of stock will become smaller... I could go on and on. This is a giant leap for the environment and the consumer!

Re:Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856049)

I am also disappointed in and baffled by the tags currently assigned Why oneworldgovernment is even coming up shows to what degree conspiracy and fear of globalisation have fed into the public conscience.

I just hope it's a joke, because as oneworldgovernments go, the ITU's pretty solid as other comments have highlighted. I'm fairly certain from my telco work that you're likely to find someone who actually knows what telecoms and communications are about in the ITU decision making hierarchy as opposed to standard decision-making hierarchies that promote on the basis of popularity...

South Korea and China led the way on this (3, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | more than 3 years ago | (#29855971)

The Koreans carriers back in late 2005 and China a year later. It's about bloody time - the world needs less junk.

Re:South Korea and China led the way on this (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856799)

Yeah. Let's throw away all those proprietary chargers, and buy some new USB ones! Oh, wait...

Re:South Korea and China led the way on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856833)

Korean phones are only semi-standard. The basic plug is standard, but there are several different size adapter plugs, depending on your manufacturer and model. It's annoying, because most new phones don't fit the standard size plug, which is pretty large, and need a small plastic adapter.

much as I really support the idea of the standard (2, Insightful)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856015)

What was wrong with the already approaching-de-facto standard of mini usb? Or is it only that popular where I am?

Mini USB is one of those things that *everyone* has a lead for, they come with cameras and mp3 players and the like. What's better about micro usb?

Re:much as I really support the idea of the standa (1, Informative)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856145)

More plug cycles. Mini is rated for 5,000 plug/unplug cycles, micro is rated for 10,000.

Re:much as I really support the idea of the standa (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856789)

I have had 4 digital cameras that have failed after a couple of hundred insertions using mini-USB. I know people who have gone through 3 or 4 Playstation Dualshock 3 controllers as the socket damaged in the same way. The pins usually bend downwards.

Durability (4, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856241)

The newer Micro-USB receptacles are designed to allow up to 10,000 cycles of insertion and removal between the receptacle and plug, compared to 500 for the standard USB and Mini-USB receptacle. This is accomplished by adding a locking device and by moving the leaf-spring connector from the jack to the plug, so that the most-stressed part is on the cable side of the connection. This change was made so that the connector on the (inexpensive) cable would bear the most wear instead of the micro-USB device.

- Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Mobile phones are getting more expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856023)

Mobile phones can either habe one combo-connector for power, recharging, pc sync, headsets, mike, volume control etc.
or several connectors, each with its own purpose. but to have several connectors would be more expensive.

So if manufacturers now move towards the micro usb connector, they need a second connector for headset,
mike etc.two is more expensive than one.

so when you buy a new phone, and you have old cables for $manufacturer you can thrown them away.
but you can buy chargers for micro usb, yay! as if you didn't already have one for your usb mp3 player
or other gadgets.

and isn't having a standard good? well, the problem isn't solved. htc for example has a connector that
covers both usb and headset/mike etc. so unless there is also a new standard for headset/mike/etc,
every manufacturer will now move to micro-usb plus his own proprietory headset/mike/etc. connector.
not much of an improvement.

but of course it is change, and change always has the great option to throw away your old stuff and buy
new stuff. if everyone needs to buty new stuff: great for the economy! yay!

Re:Mobile phones are getting more expensive (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856067)

so unless there is also a new standard for headset/mike/etc

3.5mm jack?
bluetooth?

Must be a Chapter VII resolution (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856025)

> "We are planning to launch the universal charger internationally during the first half of 2010,' Aldo Liguori, spokesperson for Sony Ericsson told the BBC."

Wow. This must be one of those UN resolutions that are enforced by the USAF.

Universal? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856039)

Universal standard?

Somebody please tell the UN that their jurisdiction is limited to this planet only, and they can't go round telling G'ould, Klimgons, Kzinti, Minbari, Mersians and Moties what to do.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856175)

The UN has nothing else to worry about!

Microsoft's using Vibrant to astroturf Bing? (0, Offtopic)

argent (18001) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856183)

This is getting as bad as X10 and Netflix, we've got Microsoft using those nasty Vibrant in-page popups, to generate hits on Bing I assume... every time someone's mouse drifts over one of those popups they get another hit on Bing to inflate their popularity.

Re:Microsoft's using Vibrant to astroturf Bing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29856695)

...and what does this have to do with universal phone chargers?

popups

Firefox and Adblock Plus. 'nuff said.

An Urgently Needed Tool (1)

hcgdietadvisor (1650337) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856411)

I like it! It will surely save us lot of money while on international business traveling. Phone communication expenses is my large bill during trips.

Universal? (2, Insightful)

bhebing (741840) | more than 3 years ago | (#29856543)

Surely they mean terrestrial, not universal. Or are we really hoping that the Xymoleians from Sirius B will adapt to this standard?
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