The European Commission proudly announced a handful of top mobile phone manufacturers have agreed to a European Union (EU) mandate for universal cell phone chargers.
Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple, and other handset manufacturers are expected to begin offering the universal charging units beginning in 2010 to European consumers. Research in Motion (RIM) and other manufacturers are expected to also utilize universal chargers, with manufacturer announcements expected in the future.
The universal charger will replace around 30 individual chargers, and will only work on European models of cell phones, the EU said in a statement.
"It's a small thing, but a big issue for the consumer," Omio.com analyst Ernest Doku said during an interview with the Times Online. "It was simply a foolish situation. But phone makers wanted to have their own technology for each phone to stay a step ahead. It's good for the manufacturers to swallow their pride, as this will be for the end user's benefit."
In addition to helping consumers, it could also be beneficial for the environment; with a less number of old chargers being thrown away each time a consumer upgrades their phone. Spread across Europe, there are around 400 million phones, and consumers purchase about 185 million new ones per year. Ten manufacturers control 90 percent of the phone, yet there are still 30 common chargers.
Previous reports indicated most GSM phones would use a standardized micro-USB charger by 2012, though legislators felt that wasn't soon enough.
The EU hopes the rest of the world will follow suit and create legislation to force manufacturers to adopt a universal charger, although it's unsure if that will be possible without heavy government oversight. Without government mandate, phone manufacturers likely won't adopt a universal charger.