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Micro-USB Cellphone Charger Becomes EU Standard

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the wish-they-seemed-stronger dept.

Cellphones 302

An anonymous reader writes "The European Commission has put into effect a June 2009 agreement stating that major cellphone manufacturers should standardize their charging/data connection ports to the popular Micro-USB format. CEN-CENELEC and ETSI provided the standards by which these 14 companies will abide to make cell phone recharging and data transfer easy." Apple may even bring the next-gen iPad along for the ride.

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first? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728496)

yes, I am that bored.

US (5, Insightful)

weems (1153747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728500)

I wish they would do this in the US. It's dumb that each company has their own chargers.

Re:US (5, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728528)

I would guess that most companies are going to bring it over to the US by default. If they have to design the EU versions with micro usb then hopefully they wont reinvent the wheel to redesign it for a US release.

Re:US (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728574)

They won't redesign anything important, but I'd bet a few will still throw on their proprietary connector, which coincidentally has four meaningful pins and a size that fits a particular hole in the case.

Re:US (2)

arunce (1934350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728940)

Yeah... right, for extra functionality like faster charge or something else better we have this extra special model specific cable.

Re:US (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728942)

Worse, they might corrupt the whole idea by supporting USB, but requiring the charger to authenticate itself, and either refusing to charge or deliberately drawing less power when you detect the wrong charger.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34729116)

Try Blackberry Pearls. They only charge with Blackberry's usb cable because the phone requires a certain amount of power. Some USB cords work but other ones don't. The only guarantee is the Blackberry cable. Most frustrating phone I ever owned.

Re:US (2)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729412)

"deliberately drawing less power"

Oh you mean, using a conservative figure for power capability so your charger doesn't burn/overheat/explode, etc?

Seems ok by me.

Re:US (1)

anotherncbeachbum (1570111) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729468)

*looks at my Motorola phones* Yeah, that. It would be nice if I could plug my phone into my PC to recharge instead of having to use their proprietary charger. I have one Moto at work that has it's own adapter for the AC and DC; the same phone, a generation newer, uses different ones. Annoying.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34729502)

AFAIK its not ONLY the connector... the whole idea behind this is to make charging with other chargers than the original easier.

Re:US (1)

pigpilot (733494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728672)

I think half the reason for having so many propriety designs is to force the consumer to buy expensive chargers and docks from the manufacturers. It has always been cheaper to go with a 'standard' design but where's the profit in that? You can find the same situation with home printers where the likes of HP still likes reinventing the wheel if they can find a way of charging more for commodity hardware.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728930)

Well... duh!! It's obvious to everyone that phone manufacturers liked to 'cheese' their profit by after market accessories. Also the home printer argument is so 2001. When's the last time you've seen an article on /. about the outrageous printer cartridge prices? Except for the odd Lexmark/HP microchip argument, most people have moved on and either print at work or have purchased a b/w laser printer because they're so incredibly cheap now.

Re:US (1)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728968)

I don't think they will bring it over to the US by default. Or at least not voluntarily. The main reason why cellphone manufacturers switch to connectors that are 0.05mm smaller than the previous version, is to sell more spare adapters. This practice makes them a lot of money.

I think that they will only switch to one common standard if (a) having two production lines for european and other phones gets more expensive than having one (b) the government forces cellphone manufacturers to do so.

Re:US (1)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729222)

Bear in mind that a lot of phones get their own specialised outer casing compared to the standard version, so I doubt it would be much work to just make a small modification such as the socket.

Take for example the HTC Hero: Standard Version [letsgodigital.org] and the American Version [zdnet.com] .

Re:US (2)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729288)

No wonder, the 'Standard' version looks so socialist Fox News would bury it in five minutes!

Re:US (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728594)

We've got a bizarre jungle of proprietary data and charging connectors because of the free market, Mr. Redpants McCommunist.

Re:US (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728600)

But, but... the invisible hand of the market?!

(Yes, that was sarcasm).

Re:US (5, Funny)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728910)

The invisible hand of the market has a propensity towards fisting.

Re:US (1)

cliffjumper222 (229876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728604)

It's not a government regulation, but the CTIA and GSMNA introduced the same measure in the US last year (well 2009) and it's a mandatory feature for all new handsets released from the big carriers now. Next step is to stop bundling chargers in the boxes like Apple did on the iPod. Then get rid of all the CDROM's, wired headsets, manuals and other junk accessories - they are almost gone now. Final step will be to get rid of the boxes themselves and ship in bulk to the stores and have them slipped into a (bio-degradable) bag at POS along with the warranty slip and legalese, or even skip the bag.

Re:US (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728622)

At the stores? I haven't bought a phone at a store since my first one in the late 90s.

Re:US (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728636)

Good. Less shit for me to throw away.

Re:US (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728724)

The standard is fortunately leaking into Australia. I just can't see an advantage of micro USB over mini USB.

Re:US (2)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728772)

Everyone has mini USB cables lying around. Micro USB? Not so much. So the advantage is that there is a little money to be made with branded micro USB cables.

Re:US (5, Interesting)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728800)

Micro is rated for more insertions (I believe 10,000) than mini. Plus, micro enables thinner devices.

Re:US (5, Funny)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728916)

Micro is rated for more insertions (I believe 10,000) than mini.

I kept telling my GF that, she wouldn't buy it.

Re:US (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729414)

I kept telling my GF that, she wouldn't buy it.

Try it with a thinner device. It'll seem bigger.

Rated for more insertions? (2)

MatanZ (4571) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728928)

Someone forgot to tell Nokia that. The micro usb in the N900 seems to be rated for 100 insertions, if you are lucky.

http://slashdot.org/submission/1180314/Nokia-N900-Hardware-failure---USB-port-falling-off [slashdot.org]

Re:Rated for more insertions? (4, Informative)

quenda (644621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729034)

That's not the fault of the actual connector. Nokia just failed to attach it to the circuit-board properly.
It is only surface-mounted in the N900, no solder-through pins or resin.

Re:Rated for more insertions? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729356)

I had the same issue with a car satnav unit. USB port fell off. I couldn't manage to reattach it with such tiny little pins, so instead I just bodged a voltage regulator to the batteries in order to keep it powered from the cigarette lighter.

Re:Rated for more insertions? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729420)

I have two Magellan GPS devices, one is a cheapie and the other one was spendy when it was new. The latter has a separate charging port, the former charges from USB. I'd prefer something that could charge either way but you can see where I'm going with this...

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728818)

I just can't see an advantage of micro USB over mini USB.

Micro-USB has a better design. It will survive more insertion/removal cycles and most of the wear occurs on the cable instead of the device.

None of this registers with the 'they just want to make you buy it again' crowd, however.

Re:US (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728906)

I just can't see an advantage of micro USB over mini USB.

I have had several mini USB phones where the plug would fall out of the phone or lose connection if I just looked at it in the wrong way.

Micro USB feels much more stable. I can even feel a little "click" when I plug it in, whereas the mini USB was only held in place by friction.

Re:US (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728952)

(Once again, this time with correct quotation tags):

I just can't see an advantage of micro USB over mini USB.

I have had several mini USB phones where the plug would fall out of the phone or lose connection if I just looked at it in the wrong way.

Micro USB feels much more stable. I can even feel a little "click" when I plug it in, whereas the mini USB was only held in place by friction.

Re:US (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728938)

I have a lot more mini USB cables knocking around than mini but it is about half the thickness, so it is more suitable for thin devices. My HTC desire came with one cable and I bought another one off ebay from Hong Kong for less than 2 euros.

Re:US (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729266)

I wish they would do this in the US. It's dumb that each company has their own chargers.

Sounds socialist to me. I like letting capitalism sort it out. Just like it did with CDMA, TDMA, GSM, LTE and WiMAX. Thanks to capitalism we have the cheapest and fastest wireless phones known to the world.

should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728514)

Shoulda woulda coulda. Is this actually going to have any effect on anything?

Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (5, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728520)

The claim that iPad 2 will have Micro-USB port in TFA hinges on this:

The most recent rumor, courtesy of the Mobile Review blog editor-in-chief Eldar Murtazin, says the iPad 2 will include a USB port. ...
AppleInsider reports that Murtazin is a trusted insider with good sources

That's as incorrect as it goes. He's an "editor-in-chief" of an organization that consists of precisely one person, namely him; and he is well known in Russian Internet community specifically for making wild and unsubstantiated predictions, often also claiming "insider info". The majority don't come true. So if that's the only source of that information, I would be wary about its correctness.

That said, if EU mandates micro-USB, it would seem that Apple won't get much choice there for iPhone, and then it would make sense for them to align the rest of the line-up with it, even if the law doesn't apply there. So it doesn't take an insider to make an educated guess here.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728536)

I know a read somewhere, who knows where... cite my sauces? nah

That Apple will be held to this and provide basically and adapter dongle to use with the standard iPhone connector type.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728742)

You mean like the dock to usb wire they ship from the start ?

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729366)

The Apple dock connector does a few more things than USB. It's also a stereo audio connector, a few control pins and, strangely, a TTL-level serial interface. Exactly what that last one is for remains a mystery.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728638)

So it will have a forced connector that is less capable than the current connector. Thank you EU.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728736)

Apple will offer what it needs to in the EU. Apples USB2, FW efforts on their pod/pads/phones have been very strange and limited.
Power in will not be the issue. What Apple will allow software and hardware related will be the issue.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728976)

What Apple will allow software and hardware related will be the issue.

It's not hard to see what will happen there. Nothing. 3rd parties that pay $$$ will get to licence limited access to whatever APIs expose music streaming, volume control etc.

I expect by default that the change in cable will let you charge via a standard cable and preciselessly nothing else.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728788)

What can Apple's connector do that micro USB can't?
I like the fact that pretty much every smartphone (except Apple's) uses micro USB. Forgettingto take along your charger doesn't really matter anymore.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728956)

Non-amplified line out for docking purposes. FM radio aerial. Does the remote control need a full USB stack? My guess would be no, there's too many spectacularly cheap chinese knock-offs for that to be the case.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729380)

My non-apple phone gets it's FM radio aerial through the headphone port. Which is also the microphone input for hands-free, and has the controls for same. So that's remote, headphones, microphone and antenna in one 3.5mm port. Which iStuffs have anyway.

Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729346)

That said, if EU mandates micro-USB, it would seem that Apple won't get much choice there for iPhone, and then it would make sense for them to align the rest of the line-up with it, even if the law doesn't apply there.

Considering that the current iPad requires more power for charging (even the iPhone charger doesn't work on it due to that), I doubt that.

Recommended or Mandatory? (1)

volteman (1766552) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728540)

Is following the standard recommended or mandatory. If it's the latter, then I am not at all for it. Let demand meet supply.

Re:Recommended or Mandatory? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728664)

As long as the opt out grants the consumer the right to beat the decision maker with a wet squirrel if they choose not to use the standard connectors, then fine, otherwise I'm all for mandatory. I think most people are tired of "snowflake connectors". A very carefully crafted exception clause would be OK, but would have to assure that if there was any practical way at all to go with the standard, then it is mandatory to do so.

I have yet to see an actual device that couldn't have used a micro-USB connector.

Re:Recommended or Mandatory? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729208)

right to beat the decision maker with a wet squirrel

You will have to upgrade wet squirel to rancid fish to get my vote.

Re:Recommended or Mandatory? (2)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728926)

It's mandatory. I'm not sure if it was actually a law or "if you cellphone manufacturers don't work this out, we'll make it a law"-kinda situation. But I do remember that they were left not much of a choice.

Normally, I would agree with you: let demand meet supply. But somehow, this hasn't worked in the cellphone industry. In my company we have about 50 cellphones, all of them Nokia's. For some reason, these phones have 4 different types of charger connectors. With a simple converter cable ( http://tinyurl.com/39xhy98 [tinyurl.com] ), we don't have to replace chargers that are built in cars.

If an 8-year old adapter can be used on any nokia phone as long as you use the right converter cable, I can't think of a reason to switch connectors except for selling more spare adapters. Sure, they can improve the cable once in a few years, if they actually improve it. But I wouldn't call switching from a 2.50mm connector to a 2.45mm connector an improvement, but rather making it incompatible on purpose.

Re:Recommended or Mandatory? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729482)

these phones have 4 different types of charger connectors.
I've only seen 2 types of charge connector on nokias in recent memory (plus there are some micro USB ones now but I haven't seen one of those in person yet). Some REALLY old stuff used much higher voltages with different connectors but that was a long time ago. Got any info on the other two?

With a simple converter cable ( http://tinyurl.com/39xhy98 [tinyurl.com] [tinyurl.com] ), we don't have to replace chargers that are built in cars.
Be aware that not all charger/phone combinations work with that adaptor. The new chargers are 5V. The older chargers had a "standard" variant that was 3.(something)V and a "fast" variant that was 5.(something), With my phone and the adaptor the old fast charger would work but the old standard charger wouldn't.

Re:Recommended or Mandatory? (1)

jmak (409787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729158)

Actually, the standard more or less reflects the status quo: 1) Devices which do not have USB data connection do not need to use USB for charging. 2) The phone itself does not need to feature USB-micro, it's enough to bundle an adapter to phone's proprietary connector from USB-micro.

Samsung Captivate (5, Interesting)

bazald (886779) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728542)

So, are they legally allowed to recess the port in such a fashion that only the official cables can reach the "standard" Micro-USB port, or is that just a mistake on Samsung's part? (It's pretty much my only gripe with the phone FWIW.)

Re:Samsung Captivate (2)

mathfeel (937008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729090)

I have an HTC phone that has a slightly misshaped micro-USB female port that has only one wedged corner instead of the regular two corners and it comes with the a cable with a male side of the corresponding shape. This do not stop me from connecting other regular cable or micro-USB charger to the phone, but it does prevent me from using HTC's cable on other device (not that I intend to do that).

I understand if you want to make an odd-shaped port to make people buy accessories exclusively from you. But this do not achieve that and is just kind of dumb.

Re:Samsung Captivate (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34729322)

The standard includes restrictions on dimensions such as the one you mentioned.

And will this allow for innovation still? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728564)

I fully know standards for all types of things have been around for a long time, but either they were voluntary or just a number a company could work towards or surpass but with a design of their discretion. I'm specifically thinking of a company wanting to include some type of induction scheme like a soniccare toothbrush to charge their phones -- perhaps in an attempt to waterproof it without it needing to be "plugged" into a charger.

And considering the push into smart phones and bigger and bigger batteries, will the 5 watts that USB MAY provide be enough to charge it in time? What about data transfer?

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728610)

Of course they can, as long as they *also* provide usb-micro charging as an alternative.

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (0, Troll)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728644)

So, just like laws requiring someone march in front of a car, announcing it is coming, kickstarts coming with electric start bikes, and so forth. Progress, ain't it grand?

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (2)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728700)

As opposed to forcing you to buy a 30$ charger and a 15$ charger cable from every single handset producer?

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728808)

Those kickstart things will save you when your battery's dead. Car announcers, that is good. Imagine what that would do to both CO2 emissions _and_ the unemployment statistics!

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728668)

There's no reason they couldn't inject silicone around the connector to make it waterproof and compliant.

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728758)

will the 5 watts that USB MAY provide be enough

USB 2.0 is 5v at 500mA, or 2.5W. USB 3.0 allows current up 900mA, so still not quite 5W.

It concerns me as well that some devices that could benefit from more current will be saddled with poor charging time because its easier to comply with the standard than create an exception. More likely such devices will be precluded from ever existing. Even if exceptions are provided for the inertia of compliance will probably be too great.

There are costs to regulation, but you're not supposed to talk about that. Ever.

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728828)

It has always been a bit of a limitation that officially you can only draw 500mA at 5V from a USB port, especially when FireWire can provide between 18 to 30V at up to 1A or more - leading to ridiculous things like a portable hard drive that requires two USB connectors - one for data and power, the other to draw more power, when a single FireWire cable will do.

I know apple has got around this with the dropping of FireWire support on the iPod line (and all subsequent 30 pin dock connector products) by having a "smart" USB charger that can detect the presence of an iPhone or other such device that can handle increased current on the USB connector (thus technically breaking the spec) (and I know it's not really smart as such, probably just a couple of resistors and a sensing circuit)

Either way, it's an issue as batteries get ever higher in capacity in ever smaller devices - charging them back up is a pain!

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729062)

USB 2.0 also allows 900mA when the port is not communicating, and more if it is a dedicated charging port.

Re:And will this allow for innovation still? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729432)

And considering the push into smart phones and bigger and bigger batteries, will the 5 watts that USB MAY provide be enough to charge it in time?

Barring a major development in battery technology, yes.

What about data transfer?

Are you proposing that USB3 is not sufficient?

Micro-USB is not popular (2)

lgftsa (617184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728634)

In fact, I'd not seen a device which had one before a few months ago when a couple of phones started to use it. Mini-USB has been the standard for years and is only fractionally larger whilst being much stronger.

I would suggest that that has been the primary reason for this choice - to continue the decades old tradition of delicate connectors to facilitate the upgrade path.

Re:Micro-USB is not popular (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728686)

Mini-USB has been the standard for years and is only fractionally larger whilst being much stronger.

Mini-USB does look stronger, although according to Wikipedia, Micro should tolerate more connect-disconnect cycles.

Re:Micro-USB is not popular (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729396)

The micro-USB connector itsself is more durable, but from what I've read above, there does seem to be an issue with the way it's mounted. The contact area of pads to circuit board is small, so unless the connector is properly attached with thru-pins it can snap right off the board very easily - and in tight-margin products, it's tempting for manufacturers to save a cent per device by skipping the thru-pins and just relying on the solder pads alone.

Re:Micro-USB is not popular (4, Informative)

romiz (757548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728692)

Micro-USB is stronger one, rather than Mini-USB, or at least is supposed to [wikipedia.org] . And it is designed so that it's the cable that breaks first, instead of the device.

About damn time. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728648)

This has only been obvious for about ... 10 years.

Technologies change. But it's ridiculously obvious that they keep changing chargers so they can charge $29 bucks for a $11 piece of hardware with a new plug.

Re:About damn time. (3, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728712)

This is so ridiculously obvious that lots of libertarians will scream murder. Forcing a standard down our throat, oh the arrogance! I will only buy phones with a different connector just out of spite!

Re:About damn time. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728778)

Hi! Libertarian screaming bloody murder here. Oh, also a Mac girl. The MagSafe connector is one of most brilliant things about my Mac. I am SO GLAD that my computer has never been dragged kicking and screaming off the table when someone has walked across the cable.

Of course if we'd standardized on the horrible AC connector that most laptops use then I'd never have benefitted from this innovation.

Oh! Bloody Murder! How selfish is me.

Re:About damn time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728944)

And what does anything you just said have to do with cellphone power and data connectors?

oh right. nothing at all.

Re:About damn time. (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728986)

Guess you could have expressed yourself a bit better, but you are correct; This could stifle innovation and freedom of choice, but worth noting that the standard is effectively optional, and does not exclude the addition of a separate power-source.

Now, if we could just get Apple to release the Patents on MagSafe, so we could use this for all laptop...

Re:About damn time. (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729442)

Now, if we could just get Apple to release the Patents on MagSafe, so we could use this for all laptop...

What I don't understand is how they got a patent on MagSafe in the first fucking place. Somewhere around here I have a cord from a waffle iron or something that is based on two contacts and a magnet. It appears to be bakelite and thus from the 1980s at the latest. The last time I knew where it was my camera's batteries were dead, because it apparently won't charge NiMH batteries from the wall wart, so I have to keep cycling sets through a charger.

Apple doesn't have to put a micro USB (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728650)

Apple does not have to put a microUSB port on the iphone 5 or the next iPad. They just have to offer an adapter. Seems like Apple lobbied for this exception and got it.

Finally caught up to China - after 4 years (2)

haruchai (17472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728652)

Didn't they mandate this back in late 2006. What the heck took the EU so long?

Re:Finally caught up to China - after 4 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728992)

Democracy takes time.

A step in the right direction... (1)

calagan800xl (1001055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728684)

..but to really compete with the Jesus Phone and his family, there need to be a standard port not only for charging but also for remote controlling and A/V output in order to create a market for non-Apple cell phone and media player docking stations.

Re:A step in the right direction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728726)

you mean something like USB?

Here we go again. (1)

Sitnalta (1051230) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728702)

One of two things I see could happen.

1) Apple uses its sway (and breaks a few thumbs) in the EU so that they are exempt because they already use USB in a way.

2) They actually include the USB port (integrated into the dock connector slot somehow) and market it as a revolutionary feature that they thought of.

Re:Here we go again. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728838)

Option is that they'll release a 30 pin dock connector to female micro-USB connector, since it is cheaper than redesigning the input boards on various iOS devices.

And for a little flame bait, they're not far off popularizing USB, although they didn't think of it. ;)

Re:Here we go again. (2, Insightful)

TyFoN (12980) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729192)

Considering that they can't even make a standard mini-jack for audio without crippling to only accept their authorized accessories, I would say option 1. If they can't sway enough then option 2 obviously.

Nokia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728784)

Nokia must have gone down kicking and screaming...

Even where they include the Micro-USB and have obviously paid the licensing for it, they still charge only off that confounded Nokia Mini-jack.

Re:Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34729008)

The Nokia N900 charges through micro-usb.

Re:Nokia (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729440)

As does the E75.

(And standard it is - I also charge my Amazon Kindle off the Nokia charger, and vice-versa).

Re:Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34729242)

Out of all the phone manufacturers nokia are one of the best in terms of charging standards.
Before the mini jack they had a larger one that all nokia phones could use.

About frigging time (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728912)

Most devices are chargable over USB anyway (if you buy the leads to do it) so it makes no technical sense that the device end features a proprietary connection. Apple and others probably do it only to sell expensive 3rd party peripherals that licence the connector. So it's good to see some sense being imposed on the market.

Apple along for the ride... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34728918)

APPL might need a whack on the side of the head first.
micro / mini / whatever, get to some standard already and stick with it. The economy and people are tired of fucking round.

So much for eco friendly (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34728982)

Once again, misusing consumer technology. Using a data-technology to transfer power, doesn't sound like it'd be very power efficient. Fine by me, capitalism works best with waste. But I still wouldn't force the inefficient standard over an efficient alternative. Good way to waste money though.

Re:So much for eco friendly (2)

o'reor (581921) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729218)

OTOH, those devices are very often seen as USB devices to plug into computers, with huge memory capabilities, therefore providing a cheap and standard way to transfer data is certainly a good idea.

Powermat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34729018)

They could have skipped all this and gone straight for a Powermat [powermat.com] . There was even talk of making batteries with the technology.

Cradle? (2)

Gunstick (312804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729052)

Did they fix the position and allow easy pluggable possibilities so you can have a cradle or car adapter?

No, of course they did not.

Clumsy connector (or maybe just me) (3, Interesting)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729088)

I'm all for a single kind of connector for all kinds of devices, but... try plugging a micro USB into your phone or gps using only one hand in the dark. Now try the same with a round plug. I much prefer the latter. Micro USB seems to be much more difficult to insert, but maybe it's just me.

Purely out of curiosity... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729134)

Does the spec detail exactly how a device wanting more than 100mA of power gets it when it's plugged into an adaptor rather than a computer? IIRC, the USB spec states that such requirements must be negotiated with the computer.

A little research suggests that this is simple - the PSU shorts the data lines, the phone recognises this and draws whatever current it needs. But AFAICT, if phone from Vendor A draws 800mA and your PSU is rated at 500mA - well, if it's been designed without any sort of protection (quite possible on a cheap & nasty adaptor) - that's the end of that.

Re:Purely out of curiosity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34729212)

more than 100mA of power

more than 100mA of current...

Now, go write it 100mtimes on the blackboard.

Re:Purely out of curiosity... (3, Informative)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729230)

if phone from Vendor A draws 800mA and your PSU is rated at 500mA - well, if it's been designed without any sort of protection and it is CE marked

Someone is gouing to have to spend some time in cell block number 9.

Of course, in the USA, consumers have no rioghts, because APPL has bought them all.

Usage convenience for older people (1)

bhaktha (1462779) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729202)

It certainly great that a standard is being promulagted for the battery charger port. But please do remember that this does not mean that chargers are interchangeable, they might be, but manufacturers might insist using their own chargers for technical and non-technical reasons. But my main gripe is about the connector itself. It is extremely hard to almost impossible to be used by older people (that is a significant population). My parents had no problem using the Nokia connector (especially the thicker older one) but are finding extremely hard to insert the micro-USB connector to connect the charger on the new phone I bought them recently. Any thoughts/solutions ?

Re:Usage convenience for older people (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729410)

My Nokia phone came with an adapter from their older chargers to micro USB. Just have them keep that adapter on their phone, hotglue it or something.
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