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362 comments

WWWWWOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTT!! (-1, Troll)

ZahnRosen (1040004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311606)

This is the best tech news I've heard all day... USB FTW!

etc. (-1, Offtopic)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311616)

etc.

Mandate (5, Insightful)

Tekoneiric (590239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311626)

This should happen all over. I wonder how much electronic waste is from cables and wall warts?

Re:Mandate (3, Insightful)

hal9035 (827327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311894)

Isn't that the point of USB? What's the "U" stand for, anyway? Since all things come from China.....

Hooray!!!! (2, Insightful)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311632)

'nuff said

seconded! (2, Insightful)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311804)

Now in europe please, oh and make sure they're all able to charge off of a sensible range of voltage and current and more importantly use the SAME USB socket, because let's face it there are twelve of those two.

Way to go! (2, Insightful)

Argon (6783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311634)

I hate it the way the same vendor changes connectors for different phones. Nokia gets the credit for using the same connector for all it's phones.

Re:Way to go! (1)

Nick_Psyko (18708) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311696)

Apart from the new phones such as the 6111 which use a smaller pin. None of the existing chargers fit.

Re:Way to go! (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311946)

Yeah, that really pissed me off when I bought a 6280! Apparently some new phones come with a convertor but my 6280 didn't and now I have 5 obsolete chargers lying around.

Re:Way to go! (3, Insightful)

lars_boegild_thomsen (632303) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311718)

They GOT credit you mean. Utopia is is not more - they now use a thinner and completely incompatible plug in several of their phones. I decided - no more Nokia. This is the very reason I've bought Nokia for a long time.

Re:Way to go! (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311820)

I have a Nokia 1600 phone - and it has a charger for the old standard (wider plug), but it seems to have a hole for a smaller plug - could that be the new charger?

Re:Way to go! (1)

whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311884)

no - sure it's for a headset...

Re:Way to go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17311720)

Same physical connector unfortunately doesn't help always. ACP-7E, ACP-12E and ACP-9E all have the same physical connector but only 7E and 9E are able to charge nokia 9110.

Re:Way to go! (2, Interesting)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311808)

Have you looked at the Nokia range recently?

They're now on a smaller version of the power adapter, and use either USB or the pop-port connector for data connections.

Admiteddly, they're migrating away from the proprietary connections towards USB, and to 3.5mm headphone sockets.

Re:Way to go! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17311848)

As does Sanyo, well at least the 5 or so models I've owned.

Next on the list of things to standardize....
Portable music players and their dock ports. Each model or company can add above and beyond a standard if they should choose. The standard should include nothing less then power, basic song selection and playing buttons (FF, RWD, Shuffle, repeat, pause, Play, stop) and speaker/line level out. Please do not tell me this is a bad idea because companies make money and get some benefits from being proprietary. I am a user and buyer of electronics gear and I want what is good for me. An exclusive licensing deal between a company and a third party accessory maker is of NO advantage to me and never will be. Imagine of the headphone jack across multiple vendors was proprietary.

Not only positive (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17311930)

Nokia gets the credit for using the same connector for all it's phones.

I got bitten by exactly that. I had a Nokia phone that ran out of power, but the charger was at home. So I borrowed a Nokia charger from someone else. I looked for a voltage rating on the phone, but couldn't find any, so in the end thought "ok, both phone and charger is Nokia, and the plugs fit, so let's give it a try".

Took half a year before the battery could hold power for more than a day. Charging a 15 volt Nokia phone (when I got home, I checked the voltage of my own charger) with a 3 volt Nokia charger is very bad for the battery.

Of course, the other way around might be even worse.

Re:Way to go! (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312034)

I don't know what you're talking about. I've had Nokia phones over the last ten years with at least six different connectors for data cables and handsfree systems (21xx series - eg 2190, 61xx series - eg 6185, 9000, 9290, 3220 (actually my wife's), and 6010 (that bizarre 1.8mm handsfree jack.) Even counting just the last five years (6185, 9290, 3220, and 6010), that's four completely different connectors. In terms of current model range, I believe there are phones covering three different, incompatible, connectors.

And to make matters worse, while the phones above may electrically have had similar connectors within their product families (that is, the 6150 had the same pins as the 6185), data cables frequently for one frequently weren't compatible with other models.

Nokia also gets a thumbs down for eschewing the 2.5mm jack for handsfree kits.

Nokia is by far the worst offender. Most Motorola, for example, phones made in the last five years have the same connector for data and power (or, recently, mini-USB - even better), and have proper 2.5mm handsfree jacks.

Gah.

Or do the dual thing... (3, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311644)

My Dad got a new cell phone made by the same company that makes my cell phone that comes with a dual power interface. At home, he uses the pin connector to charge. At my place, he can use the flat connector that I use to charge my cell phone.

amperage (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311646)

what if a device needs more power than usb port supplies?

Re:amperage (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311778)

Not necessarily a killer. Dell Axim PDAs can charge off a USB connected cradle, but it's not enough juice to run it. An additional (standard round hollow) connector provides additional power to enable charging and using in the cradle. Annoyingly there's no mini-usb connector on the Axim, so I can't charge without the cradle (or an adapter for the separate PSU).

Re:amperage (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311792)

That's generally a sign that the device was poorly designed and should be fixed. It's been a long time since I've seen a handheld device that requires more power to charge than can be supplied by a USB port. The ones that required supplementary power were designed for USB 1.1. USB 2.0 ports can carry a lot more power.

Re:amperage (1)

spikestabber (644578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311796)

The average modern USB 2.0 port can provide upwards of 2000mA.

Re:amperage (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311864)

I thought the spec required 500 mA available per port?
The USB2 ports on my Dell D600 and Mac Mini all supply about this much.

Re:amperage (1)

spikestabber (644578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311932)

A laptop is about 500mA, a typical decent motherboard on a desktop can deliver 2000mA at least. I know mine can.

Re:amperage (3, Interesting)

spikestabber (644578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311966)

A lot of motherboards power the USB through the +5VSB rail thus are unable to provide a lot of USB power over 500mA. Motherboards that come with 10 USB ports or more are powered by the main 5V rail, its rather trivial to find out you can get at least 2000mA out of one of them.

Re:amperage (5, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311950)

you're both right.
The spec calls for 500mA but most vendors connect the port to an *unfused* 5V line. This (IMHO) is a BadIdea (tm). sure you can draw 2A, you can try to draw 100A too but something's gonna give.
Case in point: http://xbx.networkboy.net/modules/gallery/albums/a lbum18/P1000121.jpg [networkboy.net]
It's a design flaw (in most cases) that you can draw that much current from a USB port.
-nB

Re:amperage (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311806)

Well, what about firewire? ISTR that firewire can provide more power than USB.

Re:amperage (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311870)

The powered (6-pin) Firewire will certainly do so - but if all you have is a 4-pin unpowered Firewire port, you are out of luck

Re:amperage (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311816)

Then it does not get sold in China or the product will be redesigned. What do you think will happen?

The best news of this, is that it will force designers to keep to low energy costs. Now, I wish that china and EU would get together and come up with limits on how much energy a monitor and a computer can use. That would have a huge impact on energy useage of future systems.

suddenly (0)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311650)

I want to live in China, or South Korea.

I like that idea. mini USB connector for data and power, have it connect to either a PC, or a powerusb plug.

Re:suddenly (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311926)

It's not like you can't buy phones in the States or in Europe that use USB for both charging and data. My 2 year old Blackberry 7100t does just that (although if you try to charge it off of a USB 1.1 port it will complain and take forever). It even uses the bog standard headphone port. When on the road, my charger consists of one 3 foot standard USB cable that I hook to my laptop. Should I forget the cable on a long trip (the battery life on this phone is pretty good, it's never been a problem) all I have to do is hit any electronics or even department store and pick up a new one.

Re:suddenly (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312088)

True, but with many phones, you don't know before hand what you are getting in terms of connections. ANd so I didn't know when I got this phone (didn't know all the other BS wrong with it either).

Re:suddenly (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312060)

You want to live in Communist China just so you can have standardized cell fone cables? At least South Korea is democratic.

Re:suddenly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17312186)

Eh, at the rate the US and China are going, China is going to be more free than us any day now. Actually, in a lot of ways, they already are.

FINALLY (1, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311652)

I have been waiting for this for a long time. This is one case where the sheer insanity of having 12 different chargers makes some sense for a legislated standard. It's unfortunate the industry couldn't play nice enough to not require it, but at the same time, it's NEEDED here.

You'd be pretty pissed if you could only use a GM-approved fill neck for your car. Why is your phone any different?

Re:FINALLY (0, Flamebait)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311784)

You'd be pretty pissed if you could only use a GM-approved fill neck for your car. Why is your phone any different?

1. I don't drive my phone.

2. A charger for a phone only costs $10, and I can buy it...and take it places with me. There dosen't *have* to be a standard for the industry to survive. It's inconvenient for people, but they *can* deal with it.

3. The Gasoline industry would have a seizure if car manufactures made different sized gas tank receptacles (of whatever they are called), so their industry dictates a standard. Cell phones and mp3 players and the like have an industry where selling more accessories (uh, like non-standard power bricks) equals more revenue.

Re:FINALLY (2, Informative)

croddy (659025) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311824)

There are two different sizes, by the way. The larger one is for diesel.

Re:FINALLY (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311914)

Oh, is that why they are different sizes? I wondered why my SUV doesnt start anymore.

Re:FINALLY (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311916)

It's inconvenient for people, but they *can* deal with it.
But why should they?

Re:FINALLY (2, Insightful)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312016)

I have been waiting for this for a long time. This is one case where the sheer insanity of having 12 different chargers makes some sense for a legislated standard.


If it is sheer insanity and it is self inflicted.

Speaking for the U.S. (I know a lot of other countries are represented on slashdot with different laws and fundamental principles) this is a market issue. We don't have to buy cell phones. We don't have to buy phones with proprietary adapters. We do because it isn't that big of a deal. Yes, it's wasteful. Americans always have been. Yes it's annoying. Americans don't (or didn't) expect legislation to prevent annoying corporate habits.

We have too many laws in this country as it is. We also have too many real problems as it is. I'm all for government mandates around information like a warning label that says this is a proprietary cable and only works with your Treo 650. Mandating convenience for the american public is NOT the american way. It never was.

You'd be pretty pissed if you could only use a GM-approved fill neck for your car.


No, I would laugh and buy someone else's car. I was very interested in the VW Turbo Diesel but knowing I couldn't get diesel fuel at every gas station made me look elsewhere. I didn't call for a government mandate requiring all cars to use the same fuel or for gas stations to sell all types of fuel.

Why is your phone any different?


Why should my cell phone be any different indeed.

Re:FINALLY (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312226)

I agree; I shouldn't have to pay iGo or someone like $10/head to get a universal power adapter for my laptops and cell phone and such. It's pure insanity the hassle this causes consumers

And what about laptops... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17311656)

...though I don't know is USB has the ompf for that, a standard would be nice. Especially if it worked on planes too.

Re:And what about laptops... (1)

pasamio (737659) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312132)

So you buy a wall connector that has a standard usb female slot on the bottom to connect a bulk standard usb cable in if things are that bad for you and your laptop can't do it. I've got one that is useful to charging my mp3 or palm when i would rather that my mac laptop charge itself faster on the road. I've regularly charged my pda off my laptop back to full strength (I also have a spare laptop battery, plus the mac sleep mode is like a hybrid of sleep/hibernate but thats another discussion) since my mac's battery usually has enough charge and it works even when my mac is sleeping (e.g. pda and laptop connected via usb in the same bag). If I could get my phone to do the same then all I need is one adapter when I'm travelling around the world (and its various power adapters).

not enough ooompf... 0.5W guaranteed max (1)

chiark (36404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312200)

You can 'officially' only guarantee that a USB port will give you 100mA at 5V - 0.5 Watts. A device can ask to increase power consumption (to up to 500mA) in its descriptor following initial power up, but it should not do that until it's been allowed to. In practice, lots of devices just say, "aah, I'm ok to do this" and try to pull the full 500mA.

Other devices use more than 500mA, and they work in some instances and not in others.

But either way it's gonna take a long time to charge your 4460mAh/14.8V battery (237KJ of energy) on .5W - over 130 hours, excluding losses due to stepping up the voltage from 5V to something useful to charge laptop batteries. Even at 2.5W, that's still over a day of constant charging.

And that's excluding the fact that stepping from 5V to something useful to charge laptop batteries will not be a lossless operation ;-)

Samsung (1)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311664)

I recently got a Samsung E900 phone. One of the things that annoys me most about it is that it has just one port. For everything. I can't charge my phone while taking the photos etc off it. If they could address that, then it sounds like a good idea.

Re:Samsung (1)

jone1941 (516270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311976)

So you're saying that there is only one port. If I had to guess I'd say mini-usb or some slightly modified version of that. Given that have you checked to see if it is charging when you plug it into your USB jack on your computer? If it isn't charging there is likely something wrong with your computer (no power to the usb jack, or it's a USB 1.1 jack). The charger is just a usb power cable being stepped down from your outlet.

Re:Samsung (1)

hakubi (666291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312130)

Probably not mini-USB, since every Samsung slider phone uses an ultra-thin proprietary connector. The internets seem to disagree as to whether the phone can charge by USB. But take the above advice and try a different computer or ensure your port has the power to charge the phone.

Re:Samsung (1)

hakubi (666291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312032)

While my Samsung t809 has no problem charging with the USB cable. Though the one connector would be problem if I wanted to use a wired headset and charge the phone at the same time. But that's why I have bluetooth.

Standardization Rules (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311672)

Standardization Rules. It does tend to screw those proprietary
morons, but, what the hell...screw them :)

Mostly good news for consumers (2, Interesting)

dgm3574 (153548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311698)

However, always beware the law of unintended consequences. It seems likely to me that the costs for this will be passed on to us, one way or another. The mobile manufacturers aren't just going to redesign and retool for free.

I would personally rather see more features, better battery life or enhanced reception than plug standardization.

Anyway, the USB port standard is pretty marginal. I've found them not to be all that durable, especially if you have to plug/unplug items frequently - like one will likely do with a phone charger.

All that said, I actually do have enough USB-chargeable devices that I'd like to see airlines and auto-makers start offering USB charging ports.

Re:Mostly good news for consumers (1)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311782)

However, always beware the law of unintended consequences. It seems likely to me that the costs for this will be passed on to us, one way or another. The mobile manufacturers aren't just going to redesign and retool for free.

Yes, but it's a market with prices dropping (albeit slowly, in the last years), so it's not that much a hassle.

I would personally rather see more features, better battery life or enhanced reception than plug standardization.

As far as I'm concerned, cell phones have already too much features. Standardization is the only essential one we don't have.

I've found them not to be all that durable, especially if you have to plug/unplug items frequently - like one will likely do with a phone charger.

You are probably right, but most cell phone plugs totally suck in this sense. You can be sure that USB is not worse than most of them. And the advantage of having standard USB cables to pass data is good too.
If only they standardize data protocol...sigh.

Re:Mostly good news for consumers (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311998)

You are probably right, but most cell phone plugs totally suck in this sense. You can be sure that USB is not worse than most of them. And the advantage of having standard USB cables to pass data is good too. If only they standardize data protocol...sigh.
The USB port on my phone has held up pretty well to two years worth of connects and disconnect (about 1 per day on each). It certainly doesn't feel flimsy like the charging/data port on my wife's Motorola phone. That thing has this long flat connector that seems to be held on by only two tiny flimsy plastic pieces. The only good news for her phone is that she never remembers to plug it in.

I really don't understand why there isn't a standard USB to Serial protocol either. It seems like something that the standards body would do, but for some reason it doesn't exist. Go figure.

Re:Mostly good news for consumers (5, Insightful)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311800)

"However, always beware the law of unintended consequences. It seems likely to me that the costs for this will be passed on to us, one way or another."

I disagree. Costs will go WAY down. Instead of paying high prices for proprietary, hard-to-find cables, we'll be able to cruise into Wal-Martz and ask for a "cell phone cable." "That'll be five dollars, please."

"The mobile manufacturers aren't just going to redesign and retool for free."

One might think that they're already redesigning and retooling with *every* new phone, given that they all have different cables?

Re:Mostly good news for consumers (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312064)

Instead (..-) we'll be able to cruise into Wal-Martz and ask for a "cell phone cable." "That'll be five dollars, please."

Most certainly. But there's definately printer & ink, razor & blades etc. pricing going on here, where they offer you a subsidized price they'll recover through accessories. If they can't count on profits later they need profits now, so expect phone prices to rise. But mostly it's cutthroat on the main item and recovery on all sorts of extras ("extended warranty" anyone?) so it's probably an improvement.

Re:Mostly good news for consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17312174)

True, but if you're buying the chargers anyway the price might as well be rolled into the phone in the first place, and you get the added advantage of being able to charge your phone up at your friend's house without worrying whether he has the same brand/model.

Re:Mostly good news for consumers (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311974)


However, always beware the law of unintended consequences. It seems likely to me that the costs for this will be passed on to us, one way or another. The mobile manufacturers aren't just going to redesign and retool for free.


They retool for new models every year or so anyway. The one thing they wont' have to do is retool because of the connectors. They'll buy their cables, power bricks and car chargers from high volume, low cost OEM suppliers.


Anyway, the USB port standard is pretty marginal. I've found them not to be all that durable, especially if you have to plug/unplug items frequently - like one will likely do with a phone charger.


Connectors are the achilles heel of mobile devices anyway. Mini-usb is much more rugged than many of the connectors used in such devices (Motorola is especially bad). In any case it's the "Series A" receptacals (on hubs and cards) that tend to get damaged; the "Series B" and "Mini B" receptacals, which is what you'd have on the device end, are fine.

Even the series A receptacles would be fine if they weren't made of cheap pot metal you can bend with your index finger. There must be mil-spec versions.

System.. (1)

VojakSvejk (315965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311700)

But when will South Korea mandate a cell phone system that works
in the rest of the world? I may need only one charger, but I still
need one phone for SK and one phone for China (and just about everywhere
else)...

Don't get too excited just yet.... (2, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311716)

.... as there is a ton of money to be made in after market accessories (see the iPod for a great example). It would take a lot of balls for cell phone companies (for example) not to do this in places where these mandates don't exist and cut off the income stream of their accessory companies. So consumers in places where these mandates don't exist still have to "vote with their dollars" as it were to encourage manufacturers to make it happen.

an example everyone should follow (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311724)

I wish we could do this in the US. It drives me crazy that I have to throw away 2 chargers (one at office and one at home), a car charger, and the PC data cable every time I have to replace my phone. Only slightly less irritating is that I have to take all that with me when I travel since I have yet to meet someone with the same model phone I have or even one where the chargers are compatible. Maybe if I could get a phone to last more than two years before going bad, I might not be so annoyed at having to replace everything each time, but I see no good reason for all the incompatibility.

Re:an example everyone should follow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17311838)

I wish we could do this in the US. It drives me crazy that I have to throw away 2 chargers (one at office and one at home), a car charger, and the PC data cable every time I have to replace my phone.
So stop buying phones that use different cables. I recently switched to Cingular and picked up a couple of Motorola SLVR L7 phones and they just use mini-USB for charging, data, headset, etc. The bluetooth headset also uses mini-USB to charge so I have a lot of options for charging the phone. Either an AC-adapter, a cigarette lighter adapter for the car, or plug it into any modern computer and charge via the USB port.

My Sanyo was similar except it had a "standard" corded headset port, a flat-style jack for a data cable that could double as a charger port, and a DC-style jack dedicated to charging the phone. The data/power cables for my Sanyo 4900 worked with my wife's Sanyo 8100 and in turn those worked with my Sanyo 8200. It was one of the main reasons I stuck with Sanyo since they used consistent cables between (at least these) different phones whereas you'd go to the store and see dozens of different connectors for other phones. That's just ridiculous.

Re:an example everyone should follow (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311852)

I've had two mobile phones until now - the first, an Ericsson T10, was the best. Worked fine, but after the second battery (non-Ericsson) wouldn't hold a charge, I went to a T230 (Sony-Ericsson now). After two years, the battery was used too, so I chose a Nokia 1600 (to standardize on phone chargers with my fiancee).

But the FREE MARKET! (5, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311726)

But this is BAD NEWS because it's GOVERNMENT CONTROL which is EVIL because the FREE MARKET would produce the BEST RESULT for the CONSUMERS!

Re:But the FREE MARKET! (0, Redundant)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311904)

:) But its government control in a government controlled country such as China!
If this HAPPENDS to benefit us through the simple effect on manufacturing cost all the better! ;)

Re:But the FREE MARKET! (1)

anlprb (130123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312022)

In a few places, Air waves, RCA connectors on TV, etc... It is the government's job to regulate standards, not to regulate competition. Two completely different things. Anyone here remember Ethyl stations? How about the CBS format for broadcasting TV? Just because a standard is mandated doesn't mean that the government is interfering in the free market. Just because the government regulated the size and features of a gas pump doesn't mean that there is no competition in the Gas Station market. Requiring a standard is very different from regulating business models. Just because we use 110V in our house doesn't mean that there isn't competition in power companies. The local monopolies take care of that. But in return for that monopoly is close regulation. The only one who is skirting by this is the Cable companies. I really don't know why that is. They are a common carrier now just like Verizon, why not be regulated as such?

http://novia.net/~ereitan/Color_Sys_CBS.html [novia.net]

Re:But the FREE MARKET! (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312084)

the FREE MARKET

      Oligopolies are not "free market". The current situation produces the best result for the manufacturer :)

Re:But the FREE MARKET! (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312214)

The article seems to suggest that South Korea has mandated one standard, and China a different and incompatible standard, which does show why having governments arbitrarily decide these things may not always be a good idea. If you live in China and you don't agree with the government's decision, you have no choice to get some different power connector, even if you're willing to pay for such a phone and someone else is willing to sell it to you.

There is a point to the free market screamers (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312250)

The problem with technology is that quite often we either end up with one standard that becomes outdated after years of use, or way too many standards that are highly incompatible. There are times a happy medium is achieved, but not always. Many times a standards body is created to create oversight over an industry standard and help regulate change so that yesterday's connector is compatible with today's PC/laptop/camera/phone/etc.

My concern about any government doing this is that these are 2 governments out of 190+ in the world imposing a standard. What if the US, canada, UK, France, Germany , Russia, or anyone else impose another standard different from USB? And what happens when USB is 20 years old and needs to be replaced. All you people decrying the current state of things will turn right around and decry that the government isn't doing it's job. Well sometimes that's the point of the free market, to do something the government doesn't do well and should not be doing at all. A standard imposed by the entire industry, rather than a few countries, would be a lot better, and the standards body would regulate change throughout the industry.

As for USB, there are at least 3 USB connector ends I know of. The most familiar to everyone is, in my opinion, too large for most phones. USB made connectors and cables better but they didn't make it "one size fits all." Does the law distinguish between the three connectors? If not, we will still have some problems with not having one connector to rule them all.

It would be nice if the US government put pressure on the industry to come up with some universal connector scheme that provides power and data transmission. Cell phone companies want something as small as possible. If they base it on the USB standard, great. I just want one connector for my bluetooth, my handset, and be able to bum a charge from the guy next to me or buy any old connector for $5 if I forgot mine at home.

Not a bad idea now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17311728)

Not a bad idea now, but when USB chargers are supplanted and eventually replaced by something that makes USB look like old-fashioned serial ports (yay COM1) I wonder how long it will take for them to get with the times.

sad.... or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17311738)

Now every one who will say open source, free software, and open standard, will be called commies!!

What the hell, it is a good move :)

now let's get them in cars! (4, Interesting)

jspectre (102549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311740)

now this is very nice news. would be even better if car companies put usb plugs right in a car. maybe one for data to play mp3's thru your radio, and a few just to charge various devices. who uses a cigarette lighter socket for cigarettes any more??? do we really need that huge socket plus a usb adapter?

Re:now let's get them in cars! (1)

planetmn (724378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311952)

Most car DC power ports supply 10A of current to devices. This is much, much more than a USB connector is capable of.

There are devices other than phone chargers that people use that power port for (fridge/cooler, inverter for laptop, etc.).

-dave

I Concur (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311760)

Standardizing cables is a great idea. Now I can plug my 8-track or phonograph into my computer without finding the right adapter or cable. Someone will certainly complain about too much gov't invasiveness, but anything to get rid of those piles of wires I have hanging around with no known device to power or connect. It's nirvana!

Why not expand this to other products categories? (0)

ivi (126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311764)

I've been wanting this kind of policy for yonks!

Now that it's come - at least to cel.phones -
I'd like to see it generalised to other products,
as well.

(OK, so maybe my Electric Vehicle will has an
atypical charger & connection to the car... ;-) ...preferably with no need to install software
for all the different types of devices, too...

wait.... (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311770)

'In Korea only old people use cell phone and universal cables to charge them.'

-Me, the real Korean-

Yea (2, Informative)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311772)

I looked into getting a Data cable from my cell phone provider for a two-year old phone. They want $50! (I know eBay, etc). It goes to show that the proprietary cables cost a hell of a lot more money for nothing.

And I'll bet with these standard cables, Monster Cable will develop a super-editition with gold-plated connectors, etc, etc! Only $100! LOL.

Waiting for the same for laptop chargers (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311774)

I probably have 6-7 old laptop chargers. They're all using slightly different voltages etc., but they're close enough that it's trivial to get universal chargers that can handle the full span. The problem is that the plugs are all different. If you look at the "universal" laptopchargers you can buy, most of them come with a large selection of plugs... How hard could it be to ensure the laptop can handle an input voltage up to a reasonable maximum, and use standard plugs?

Re:Waiting for the same for laptop chargers (1)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312038)

I'd love to see a standard low voltage DC supply that could be used to supply laptops (amongst many other gadgets).

One important criterion though: It must use a magnetic connector (like the Apple MacBooks). People won't want to settle for the lowest common denominator.

Or maybe this is one reason no such standard exists.

Summary is wrong (3, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311786)

The summary says that phones "must use USB for charging". The fine article, however, says that "handsets sold there should be able to charge via USB".

There is a lot of difference between those two statements; the former makes absolutely no sense, as not every mobile phone user has a computer (or one with a USB port). The latter is a wonderful idea that frankly should be implemented as soon as humanly possible.

Re:Summary is wrong and so are you (3, Informative)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311962)

makes absolutely no sense, as not every mobile phone user has a computer (or one with a USB port).

You are so wrong.

You do not need a laptop to 'USB-charge'

You can pick up a USB Mains Charger [google.fi] for as little as 5 USD.

Re:Summary is wrong and so are you (3, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312082)

Well, I'm not wrong about the article summary being wrong, and I'm not wrong about not everyone having a computer with a USB port (and I never even mentioned laptops), so at best I'm wrong about the need for such a computer in order to charge via USB, which was implied. So, I'm 66% right; not entirely sure that constitutes being "so wrong".

Re:Summary is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17312110)

the former makes absolutely no sense, as not every mobile phone user has a computer

Step one: Make phone with USB connector for charging.

Step two: Supply USB cable for data access.

Step three: Supply charger with USB connector, using the two 5V (power) pins of the USB cable.

Motorola is already doing it (2, Informative)

wannabgeek (323414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311802)

At least most of the new phones of Motorola the A-series, the RAZR, SLVR and PEBL etc all come with USB ports for charging as well as data-transfer.

Re:Motorola is already doing it (1)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311834)

This is one of the best moves that Motorola has made for a while, but with one caveat.

You cannot charge a RAZR from being flat via PC/USB, you have to use the mains charger. Maybe only a slight inconvenience, but a point none the less.

Re:Motorola is already doing it (2, Informative)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311886)

Should also add that Motorola have been shipping USB to their proprietary adapters for quite a few years - I got one with my HS820 headset, and can charge it from my PC.

New Samsung (1)

thpdg (519053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311812)

I've spent the last 2 weeks trying to find accessories for my new Samsung, and it's impossible. It has a single proprietary connector for charging and headset. Worse, it's not the connector they've been using all along. It's new for Blackjack and Sync and all of the phones from the past 6 months. WTF!
No store carries anything, but if you're willing to wait, plenty is coming over from Hong Kong.
USB would be very nice!

They get to charge you £40 for a cable (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311878)

It's quite deliberate. You have to buy the cable from them so they can charge you several thousand percent margin on it.
 

Finally! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311826)

This might not be good for cell phone accessory makers, though. Chargers are big business. I have three just for my phone. One for the office, one for the home, and one for the car.

Motorola has already using USB. It started with the RAZR and SLVR and KRZR. But their older cell phones still have proprietary cables.

Re:Finally! (1)

Barleymashers (643146) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311978)

I agree, the only problem is when I ordered my RAZR and Mototola Bluetooth headset, they had different chargers! The RAZR had the USB and the headset still had the old one used on the v60s... I was so annoyed. Now I have two chargers for home, and two chargers for the car. They should standardize all of the phones and accessories.

Take it one more step (1)

ZOMFF (1011277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311856)

It's great that they are standardizing on the connection to the device. It would be even better if now there could be a standard for wall AC power. Needing to bring 6-8 adapters when I travel overseas is a bit crazy.

Re:Take it one more step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17312062)

I've never noticed a problem with this as most adapters seem to support a range of voltages, e.g. 110 to 250. Are you travelling to places with particularly exotic voltages?

USB? (2, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311872)

WTF does that mean? I have an iPod aftermarket charger that plugs into the wall and accepts the iPod's standard USB cable. Is that what they mean? Because at the least that would mean I could use a cheap wallplug unit for all my phone regardless of what stupid unique connector they use on the phone end. Of course that means that USB cables will triple in price.

Otherwise if they mean that all phones have to be charged by a USB port to a computer alone that would make less than zero sense. Considering, as others here have pointed out, not all USB ports draw enough current, it doubly makes less than zero sense.

Great idea (1)

jim9000 (740810) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311902)

One of the reasons I bought the phone I have (RAZR V3c) is that it was the only reasonably priced phone on my carrier that had a mini USB interface. I picked up a cable for $5 instead of $40 so I could hook it up to my computer and charge using that. I use the same cable for many other devices and don't have to carry a charger around with me.

The good with the bad... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311910)

Guess I have to take the good with the bad. Good news is no more searching for the "right" sync/charging cable for phones, makes IT support easier. Bad news is the market is now flooded with useless crapola (ala iPod) that my phone plugs into now. Hey, who can't say no to desktop speakers in the shape of dog poo? C'mon!

This is great for people in S Korea and China, but (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 7 years ago | (#17311968)

What are the chances that things made in China and South Korea would make it to the U.S. (where I am, I'm being insensitive)?

What's that?

Oh....

interesting related factoid: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17312004)

For those of you who have samsung's razr wannabe; my roomate has one. I have an el-cheapo Samsung SCH-a630. He lost his charger for a bit, and I let him borrow mine. it worked.

After he found his, i lost mine, and tried to borrow his: didn't work. there were extra grooves that prevented plugging in.

In Other News... (1)

LikeTheSearchEngine (995759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312054)

Sony CEO throws temper tantrum, claiming their proprietary interfaces and formats actually benefit consumers...

Re:In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17312246)

I very much doubt it. The PS3 charges its controllers via USB. So save your Zonk fangirlism for elsewhere.

Motorola are good at this (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17312072)

Pretty much every GSM, UMTS and CDMA motorola (so not wierd stuff like that IDEN thing) currently available has a mini USB port which is used to charge the phone.
You can use a wall-wart charger or a car cigarette lighter charger or whatver. It also uses USB for data transfer and if the USB port is powered, will charge whilst sending data. There is the negative that you cant charge and do data at the same time if the USB port cant provide enough juice but the answer is to charge and then transfer data, transfer data and then charge or build/buy a cable that the USB charger plugs into as does the phone and the computer such that the phone draws power over the power pins from the USB charger whilst communicating over the data pins with the computer. (I am surprised that such a cable doesnt already exist :)

USB chargers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17312240)

I hope they mandate also clean USB chargers.
USB does not allow to simply use the power. Power is part of the bus protocol so the USB device has to fulfil several requirements.
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