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GSM Arena Confirms Mobile Universal Charger Format

Gordon Kelly


GSM Arena Confirms Mobile Universal Charger Format

There has been a lot of hubbub about this next item which I find surprising since it was actually first announced way back in September 2007. Clearly however it's time to repeat the message...

This week the GSM Arena and a whole gaggle of major mobile operators have announced (again) that the micro USB format (right, verses the commonly confused mini USB, left) will be the new universal charger standard for mobile phones. The aim of the initiative is firstly to cut down waste and inconvenience for consumers. Secondly is an environmental project with the belief a move to more energy efficient chargers could cut power consumption by 50 per cent and eliminate up to 51,000 tonnes of duplicate chargers.

The goal is to make this universal charging solution (yes, it has an acronym: UCS) the majority interface by 1 January 2012 with their energy efficiency in line with targets set out by the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (ditto: OMTP).

So who is aboard? The initial group of companies behind the UCS initiative include 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

Given its general enthusiasm for all things proprietary, Sony Ericsson is a surprising and welcome member but I can't see Apple giving up its dock connector and consequently compatibility with all its iPhone accessories just yet...


Press Release


February 18, 2009, 7:44 am

"...I can't see Apple giving up its dock connector and consequently compatibility with all its iPhone accessories just yet..."

who cares...(decent edition of comment)


February 18, 2009, 10:10 am

It is a welcome prospect, and can't happen too soon for me. No longer having to search for the right charger, being able to borrow a charger while visiting a friend, heck, hotels vcould offer charger service knowing that it would have a compatible connector - what a world we could live in.

Of course, it will be years coming and there will be hold-outs, but maybe it can be acheived in my lifetime, hey?


February 18, 2009, 1:09 pm

given that usb is a massively popular connector at the mo, would it be a stretch to ask that the new format is easily convertible to usb?


February 18, 2009, 1:45 pm

Should have been enforced by law years ago....


February 18, 2009, 2:23 pm

Though it seems to be by a captive cable rather than the 'wall wart' {wall charger} having a full fat type A USB socket {and a device appropriate cable} which could make it more generic i.e. charge not just mobile devices. This seems to be the chinese solution {thanks to alex2006}


My N85 is the first{?} Nokia that charges via micro USB and it has a captive charging cable {even though it also comes with a full fat USB -> micro USB cable so it can be charged from computer (and my powerjolt in the car)}

Now if only didgital camera manufacturers would join this move e.g. Canon


February 18, 2009, 2:48 pm



February 18, 2009, 3:37 pm

Should have been a specification years ago that any portable device that could connect over USB should use a standard connector (I'm looking at you, Sony Ericsson) and also charge over USB (phones, digital cameras, MP3 players). I've had three digital cameras and countless mobiles (currently Nokia N95 8GB) and the only one that charged over USB was my old Sony Ericsson W810i with its proprietary USB cable. D'oh!


February 18, 2009, 4:12 pm

Stupid. Now there'll be only one hole in the brick so that'll be either charge or use. Hell even my old Nokia 2300 could do both simultaneously!


February 18, 2009, 4:15 pm

Sounds good, hopefully this will also force these companies to adapt 3.5mm jacks if they can no longer roll sound + data into one proprietary dock/connector.


February 18, 2009, 5:55 pm

@Gnormie - agreed, though mini USB can also support charging and sound + data ;)


February 19, 2009, 1:52 am

This is a good move, will cut waste. Should have been done a long time ago. No doubt apple wil continue to hold out in order to exploit consumers on accessories, while still claiming to be "green".


February 19, 2009, 4:49 pm

A rechargeable toothbrush just sits in a holder to be charged. I thought that the way to go was to enable charging of anything one can think of, by just laying it onto a pad. That would get rid of the need for actual connection by wires & surely improve matters for all small electrical items such as MP3 players, cameras, phones, etc.

Is there a problem with this method that I don't know about?


February 19, 2009, 6:25 pm

@ mark

It is possible for example with the Palm Pre's touchstone, the only thing is it can only do power whereas the USB cable does data aswell.

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