back to article One plug to rule them all

The Open Mobile Terminal Alliance (OMTP) has published a recommendation paper suggesting that mobile phone manufacturers all use micro USB connectors to charge, and connect, their handsets. The recommendation document - available as a PDF file here - suggests that mini USB, the connector already being used on many devices, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't think size matters

    I don't think the issue of the phone thickness is the real problem.

    The biggest thing will be, yes you can use any connector from any device for you phone and it will work No need to buy a special, dock, home charger, car charger, headphones etc etc...

    Just think how much money they will loose in the nice aftermarket sector.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, but

    It's all very well that the likes of Nokia are "supporting" this move considering they recently decided to change from the old size recharge socket to a new one across the board, rendering everybody's old chargers useless. Brand loyalty count for nothing these days.

    Motorola did the same thing, making my collection of chargers (including car) pointless.

    Still, I don't care anymore as I've got a LG Shine with micro USB so I'm ahead of the game...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not an issue

    "Obviously everyone would love to see all mobiles using the same charging and data connections, but telling a manufacturer that they can't make a phone 2mm thick becasue the 'industry standard' plug won't connect is less easy."

    As long as they can provide an adapter to the standard fitting, they can put whatever connector they want on the phone itself...

  4. Tom


    Nokia may have switched to their own micro charger plug but they did issue an adapter from old-to-new with every phone!

  5. Tom

    It's a good idea.

    My Motorola phone has one, same for my camera, Palm, and a couple of other devices. So I have one sitting on my desk at home, and one at work, one in my parts box.

    No need to buy some overpriced $39 cable everytime I get a new phone... that may be the real problem. How do they make outrageous profit from cables once eveyone has one?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customer Choice

    I refuse to acquire a phone without a USB charger! Once a standard is in place I believe others will also shun phones that require new chargers (wall & car) and data cables.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Brand Loyalty

    This now comes from shipping your phone with an adaptor for your old charger

  8. Al Jones

    That's the nice thing about standards - there are so many of them to choose from!

    My wife has a Motorola phone, with a mini-USB charging port.

    But when she tries to recharge it with one of the other mini-USB chargers in the hose, the phone complains that it's not an official Motorola charger, and refuses to charge!

  9. Azrafael

    About time?

    In Singapore where I'm at it has become pretty much a standard especially in terms of connectivity across much middle to top end devices.

    I remember using the first Motorola V3 and it came with the mini-usb a year back and i was amazed and contented (and still am!)

    A mini usb port in itself provides much usb-adapter capabilities.

  10. |Mike Hardie

    Chinese having their say

    So this in nothing to do with the chinese government making it the law that all mobile phones must accept usb chargers. Nothing to do with them having 1/4 of world wide gsm handsets.

    The best move a govt has ever made.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair...

    ... the Nokia N73 that I bought came with not only a new charger, but a little adaptor to convert the old charger to the new socket. In fact, you can buy them from the Nokia website for the princely sum of £3.50, instantly making your old nokia chargers useful again.

    It'll prolly be possible to do a similar converter should a device need an ultra small socket.


  12. Richard Griffith

    Awww Idealists....

    ...Those of you who believe that a large number of consumers will shun mobile phone manufacturers because of none standard charger sockets are suffering from that sad condition of having faith in the majority! Those of us who have an avid interest and understanding of the issue may well do so but the average consumer will lap up whatever shiny new designer phone is thrown at them irrespective of whether it has an industry standard charger/data/headphone socket, they're too ignorant to care less.

  13. voshkin

    hope so

    I have several devices which have mini USB, the most convenient thing about it is that they can charge from the computer. Plug it in to sync the contacts, for example, and recharge at the same time. charge multiple items with the powered USB hub, what can be more convenient.

    Being a smart arse, when I went on holiday, I took a powered USB hub with me, thinking that I can charge my Nokia phone (charges from special USB cable that looks like mini USB, but isn’t) my blackberry, and my camera. Imagine my annoyance when the devices would not charge, unless the laptop was switched on. Apparently, they need to “talk” to the OS for some reason, before they can draw power from the USB port, even though the hub is powered...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does the iPhone use?

    .. just standardise on that - after all, there's no need for anything else.

  15. eugene

    wires suck

    I'm all for a single plug - it'll be a lot more convenient for people who swap phones during the week. I just hope bluetooth headset manufacturers do the same!

    Plantronics is moving in the right direction with their Discovery 6xx series. You can get them with charging adaptors to suit most major brands.

    In the end though, wires suck! I'm personally waiting for inductive charging to get small enough to be practical. That, plus UWB or whatever becomes the next short-range wireless standard, would be awesome. Assuming it doesn't break itself randomly, like bluetooth.

    Of course, if battery manufacturers can come up with a next-gen batt technology that allows you to recharge your phone once or twice a month with regular use, the type of charging plug becomes less of a hassle!

  16. Graham Marsden

    To paraphrase Groucho Marx...

    ... These are my standards. If you don't like them, I have others.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standard chargers

    While we are talking about chargers - why is that so many mains chargers coming from Taiwan have the cable coming off the wrong side of a 13-amp plug ?

    They can manufacture the pins of the plug alright but bringing the wire out on the wrong side causes blocking on many sockets, especially power-bars.

    All they had to do was look at a cable with a plug on the end !!!


  18. Richard Silver badge


    The USB spec says that you can't pull more than 100mA unless you've asked for it.

    Then you can have up to 500mA, *if* the host root hub says agrees.

    On the other hand, if the computer says no, you are limited to 100mA.

    That said - 100mA is a reasonable trickle charging current for a low-power device.

    My GPS has a 1400mAh cell - so 100mA will charge it in 14 hours.

    Unfortunately a lot of USB root hubs provide exactly nothing when the host PC is switched off - and most laptops do this, for fairly obvious reasons.

    I'm not sure if any powered USB hubs currently exist that have suitable chipsets to automatically provide 100mA to downstream ports when no host is present, but the standard does permit it.

  19. Adam

    Will not happen

    Put simply, wires are deprecated means of transferring data. Wireless (be that Bluetooth, WiFi, or whatever) is the sensible way to transfer data to and from a phone. Even wired hands free kits could disappear except for the FM radio needing the cable to work as an antenna.

    They could I suppose agree on a standard power cable, but then how could they charge 10 quid for a charger with their logo on it?

  20. Squits

    USB Power

    I have something in my hand right now.

    It happens to be a standard three pin plug charger with a usb port on it, I got it with a media player I recently purchased.

    Provide everyone with one of those too and all sorted on the wall charger front.

  21. Paul


    If apple can do it, why can't other manufacturers. They've managed a standard headphone socket which is no wider than the mini usb. So i'm sure it would be possible and look at how thin the new Nano's are.

  22. Stewart Rice

    Induction plates.

    Why not dispense with chargers altogether, and use a nice, large, multi-device, induction plate. All you would need then is a large flat device, no thicker than 2 CDs/DVDs stacked, lying on your desk (or even built-in) onto which you place - loosely - your phone, mp3 player, PDA, and any other portable device you can think of. Why must this technology be restricted to charging toothbrushes?

  23. adam

    I think it's a damn good idea.

    Prices on chargers would go down, quality and selection would go up. I have thought for a long time that the large variety of cell phone chargers/jacks/etc is problematic. Some don't work so well, some wear out quickly, and some are just a pain to use. I can't charge my blackberry on my finance's cell phone charger, and she can't use mine. I have to have two car chargers because of this. When I travel with her, I have to take both chargers.

    Having a standard format would just be a good thing for everyone.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ eugene

    Seriously, does anybody admit to wearing bluetooth headsets?

    Star Trek is not real life! and you probably aren't an unlicensed eastern european cabbie.

  25. Dan Sunderland

    Agreed, Sony Ericsson are a big culprit!

    I couldn't agree more, I currently have the Walkman w880i and although I think it is a fantastic little handset and has all but nullified my requirement for any other music device, the charger connection is bulky and is also used as an annoying extension onto a standard headphone socket.

    Looking at the side profile of the handset I don't think this is an ergonomic choice, rather a stubborness to reply and acknowledge that handsfree and headphones are not the same device and shouldn't be treated as such!

    Personally I think phone manufacturers are just terrified of the 3 party peripheral market making a better product than their own that works for every handset, but in the same vein surely they could then do the same against their competitors?

  26. John Vaudin

    Spot the catch

    Notice they're not talking about mini-USB - you know the thing we all already use, and have chargers for - they're talking about micro-USB - whatever the hell that is. Wonderful thing about standards etc.etc.

  27. Jason Irwin

    What's important?

    In descending order...

    1) Ease of use

    2) Battery life

    3) Voice clarity

    4) Durability (impact, scratch and water resistance)

    5) Other features

    Unfortunately manufacturers are more concerned about widgets and crap which have no real bearing on the phone's ability to be a bloody phone!

  28. chris

    There's a problem?

    I find this debate bizzare. I've swapped between mobiles before and happily used the new charger that came with it and used whatever method of connecting it the phone could support. Which also involves new software on the computer.

    Never bothered me.

    After all, I don't complain my key to my last car does start my new one.

  29. Ian Yates


    But you would complain if you needed to buy specially designed fuel or components (tyres, etc) to keep your car running, that only the manufacturer could... oh, wait

  30. chris


    lol! There already - and not bothered in the slightest!

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