Sometimes it is the simple things that take the longest time. As a race we have sent people to the moon, we can communicate via satellite, we have GPS and we can call someone on the other side of the planet… But could we agree on a simple thing like a phone charger. No. Every phone has a different charger, even different models from the same manufacturer have different chargers. But now, at last, after what seems like decades of mobile phone use, a new mobile phone charger that will work with any handset has been approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The charger uses a micro-USB port to connect to the phone, this type of plug is already used on some phones and on many digital cameras. It will mean that any phone, which uses this standard, can be recharged on your computer, from a wall socket or in your car using a single universal cable and accessories.
The only sad thing is that it is not compulsory for manufacturers to adopt the new chargers but the ITU says that some (like Sony Ericsson) have already signed up to it.
It is estimated that 51,000 tonnes of redundant chargers are generated each year as people tend to throw away their old charger when they upgrade to a new phone. What would be great is if mobile phone companies and networks gave discounts to people who don’t take a new charger with their phone but continue to use their existing universal charger. Of course it will take a few years for this to happen as no one has the universal chargers yet!
Another good thing is that these chargers are energy-efficient (they have a 4-star or higher efficiency rating making them up to three times more energy-efficient than unrated chargers) and it is estimated that they will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 13.6m tonnes.
“Information and communication technologies are an essential element of an effective Copenhagen climate agreement,” says Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré.
[See also BBC]