CTIA Endorses Phone Input Standards

Standardizing phone chargers and multimedia jacks could lead to savings for manufacturers, enterprises, and consumers.

Marin Perez, Contributor

October 12, 2009

2 Min Read

The CTIA Wireless trade association said it would support initiatives to standardize the chargers and headphone jacks for cell phones and smartphones.

The industry group, which includes representatives from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and others, announced support for using the micro-USB standard for chargers and the 3.5-millimeter plug for the headphone jacks for all phones released after January 2012. The move is meant to reduce consumer frustration, as well as reduce costs for end users, manufacturers, and operators.

The CTIA said having a universal charger will lead to 50% fewer chargers being made, and this could also help reduce greenhouse gases. The standardization of inputs could also lead to some cost savings for enterprises, as it may enable businesses to spend less on replacement chargers for their fleet of smartphones.

"This initiative builds on the wireless industry's earlier decision to support a universal charger solution and both initiatives will ultimately provide benefits for our consumers," said Steve Largent, CEO of CTIA, in a statement. "By simplifying input and output features on mobile devices, economies of scale will reduce consumers' costs."

The support is not binding however, as individual handset makers will not be punished if they don't produce handsets with these standardized interfaces. Additionally, the industry trade group is unsure if the micro-USB standard is technically capable of handling high-definition video transfers at adequate speeds, so it did not support the standard for this practice.

Standardization of phone inputs appears to be picking up steam, as earlier this year the European Union put forth a plan for a universal charger that received support from Apple, LG Electronics, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Research In Motion. Additionally, the major cell phone manufacturers launched a common energy rating system for chargers last November that's designed to enable customers to choose the most energy-efficient charger.

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