The era of using a unique recharger for every device is beginning to come to an end. Nothing should make people happier -- from both a personal annoyance and environmental point of view.
Ten device manufacturers have agreed with the European Commission to use a universal battery charging design. This is big news for a couple of reasons. It will severely reduce the common occurrence of folks leaving home or the office for a trip and suddenly realizing that their charger was left in a desk or on the nightstand. This is an inefficiency companies can live without. More seriously, it will cut the amount of e-waste, since buying a new phone won't necessarily lead to tossing into the trash the charger from the device that is being replaced.
The agreement, which mandates change for next year, only applies to EU member nations. NewsFactor points out that the world of mobile devices is multinational in nature. The strength of the idea itself and the trans-border nature of the companies party to the agreement (Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments) suggest that common sense will prevail here sooner rather than later.
The story provides details of the agreement, which mandates that the signatories offer chargers that use micro USB connectors. The "preferred charging rate" is the ability to get from 10 percent to 90 percent of capacity within six hours. The quotation marks were in the story and implied the good question of whether that rate is mandatory or optional.
E-waste is a well documented and serious issue. It's also a tricky topic, as this interview of Matt Decareau, business development director at Massachusetts-based M&K Recovery Group, conducted by IT Business Edge blogger Lora Bentley, suggests. It's terrific that the EU has done this, and it certaily will make sense for the idea to be implemented in the U.S.
Along the same lines, earlier this month Info NIAC released its take on the seven most eco-friendly phones. The list-there actually are eight devices, since Sony Ericsson weighs in with two -- are the Sharp SH002 Solar Phone, the LG Solar-Powered Phone, Samsung Blue Earth, the Coral-2000 from ZTE, the Natural Year Phone (a design by Je-Hyun Kim), the Motorola Renew W233 and the Sony Ericsson C901 and Naite. The Natural Year phone automatically biodegrades into pieces of grass after two years.