Universal Cell Phone Charger Gets EU OK

Manufacturers endorsing EU agreement include Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Qualcomm, and RIM. Concept has been endorsed in the US by the CTIA wireless association.
The European Commission and several leading cell phone manufacturers agreed Monday to back a mini-USB standard for cell phone chargers beginning next year -- two years ahead of schedule.

A universal charger standard would have several advantages, not the least of which means that consumers won't bear the additional expenses of purchasing new chargers for future generations of phones.

"People will not have to throw away their charger whenever they buy a new phone," said Guenter Verheugen, EU Industry Commissioner, in a statement.

The agreement was foretold because the GSMA, which had been coordinating leading manufacturers, had a prominent role in the effort. The organization's GSM technology is used by nearly all cell phones marketed in Europe. The universal charger concept has been endorsed in the US by the CTIA wireless association, which represents leading US cell phone manufacturers and suppliers. The CTIA said recently that the MicroUSB standard was the specification agreed upon.

A universal charger would enable users to charge virtually all future cell phones. The CTIA said that a universal charger would result in 50% fewer chargers being manufactured and, in turn, the lower volume of charging devices would help reduce greenhouse gases.

Manufacturers endorsing the EU agreement include Apple Inc, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments.

Nearly 400 million Europeans use cell phones.

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