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Leading Mobile Phone Makers Agree to Develop Universal Charger

mobilephoneDriven by the European Commission’s call for a common charger for mobile phones to reduce electronic waste and improve energy efficiency, ten leading mobile phone and chip makers have agreed to develop a universal standard phone charger for the European market. Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Texas Instruments all have signed up to support the development of standard micro-USB chargers. The EU expects the first generation of standard mobile phone chargers to reach the EU market by 2010.

The deal followed threats by the European Commission (EC) to introduce legislation if a voluntary solution could not be found, reports Times Online. The new standard charger will replace the more than 30 different kinds of charger that are currently in use across European member states.

Together with the MoU will be a new standard that covers safe use of new mobile phones as well as avoidance of radio interference problems, according to the EC.

A surprise supporter of the standard is Apple. When plans for a standard mobile phone charger were announced at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona earlier this year, Apple was not included on the list provided by the GSM Association (GSMA), according to BusinessGreen.com.

An Apple spokesman told Business.Green.com that the reason for the discrepancy is that Apple is not a member of the GSMA; it is a member of Digital Europe, whose members are supporting the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Apple also said it continues to be committed to the Apple dock connector.

In addition, some companies that were on the initial list, such as 3, Orange, T-Mobile, AT&T and Vodafone, are not listed in the new agreement, reports BusinessGreen.com

“I am very pleased that industry has found an agreement, which will make life much simpler for consumers. They will be able to charge mobile phones anywhere from the new common charger. This also means considerably less electronic waste, because people will no longer have to throw away chargers when buying new phones,” said Gunter Verheugen, vice president, responsible for enterprise and industrial policy, European Commission, in a statement.

He added: “I am also very pleased that this solution was found on the basis of self-regulation. As a result, the Commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation.”

The GSMA said that the new universal chargers will consume half as much energy when on “standby” — or plugged into the socket, but not actually charging a phone — as current charging cables, reports Times Online. GSMA hopes that most mobile phones by 2012 will operate using the universal charger.

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