02. 24. 2009
2012: The year of the universal cell phone charger
According to the Daily Green, the average lifespan of a cell phone is about eighteen months, with about 130 million retired annually in the US alone. That's a lot of cell phones.
That's also a lot of phone chargers. Unless you're replacing your phone with an identical model, odds are good that you must also replace your old charger with one specific to your new phone.
It's terrible for the environment, of course, to have so many different types of chargers out there - so many resources wasted designing and manufacturing all those different chargers - but it's also highly inconvenient. Accidentally leaving your charger at home during a trip generally means you'll have to live with not having a usable phone for a few days, or picking up yet another charger at a mobile phone store.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if, instead, all phone chargers used the same shaped connectors and the same amount of power? If you could just ask to borrow your colleagues' and family members' chargers?
Thanks to the GSMA (Groupe Especiale Mobile Association), this may happen in 2012. The GSMA, an influential global group whose members include cell phone manufacturers, wireless companies, software companies and internet providers, has brokered a deal with cell phone makers. Virtually every one of the major phone makers have pledged to create a universal cell phone charger by 2012, possibly using a micro-USB plug.
This is great news for everyone except iPhone users; CNET is reporting that Apple is not among the companies who have agreed to use the new proposed standard. Perhaps a little bit of pressure from consumers will help?