Common mobile phone charger coming soon to Europe

The European Commission announced this week that ten mobile phone vendors have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) regarding the “Harmonisation of Charging Capability for Mobile Phones” that will cover mobile phones and a majority of devices using radio frequencies to be sold in Europe. This new unified charger creates a new European standard and will be applied to all mobile devices reaching the European market in early 2010.

The MoU covers data-enabled mobile phones, those which can be plugged into a computer to exchange pictures, files, music, etc. The MoU excludes mobile phones which do not support USB data exchange and also certain unusual formats of phone, for example, phones worn as wristwatches.

The vendors agreed to set up a common charger interface and develop a common specification on the basis of the Micro USB Interface to allow full compatibility and safety of chargers and mobile phones. This will make charges more convenient to use as well as reduce the environmental impact of multiple and redundant chargers for mobile phones. Reusability of previous chargers will also significantly decrease the cost of buying new phones which today include a new charger, generally incompatible with the chargers used with the previous phone, even those from the same brand. The ten companies that signed this MOU are Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments. They produce the majority of the cell phones sold in Europe. One hopes this agreement can be extended to the US soon.

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