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Universal microUSB Mobile Phone Charger Standard Approved


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by Bart Salisbury

You can file this one under: “It’s about bloody time!” The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has just approved the microUSB connector as the standard for GSM mobile phones.

Currently, every mobile phone manufacturer, seemingly for each model of phone they produce, uses a proprietary standard for its accessories. The result is a junk drawer crammed full with non-interchangeable mobile phone chargers. According to the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA), 51,000 redundant chargers are produced, as each new phone means a new charger to go with it.

Besides reducing waste, the microUSB charger is greener than its predecessors. The GSMA estimates adoption of the new standard will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13.6 tons. "This is a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging," said Malcolm Johnson, director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. "Universal chargers are a common-sense solution that I look forward to seeing in other areas."

The new standard, alas, is not mandatory. But Sony Ericsson is already committed, and other manufacturers appear interested.

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