back to article EC parades common phone charger

Been a long time coming, but yesterday the European Commission got its mitts on the first sample of a universal phone charger for member countries. Commissioners were so excited that they ran a press conference, with TV cameras and all, in Brussels to show off the beast. The brouhaha was a bit overdone - we are after all …


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  1. Sampler

    Where is HTC?

    My last two HTC's already sported a micro-USB connection, which was annoying as the previous three HTC's had mini-usb and I had to replace all my chargers.

  2. Alfie
    Gates Horns

    Where is Nokia?!

    More importantly, where is Nokia?! It's all very well putting MicroUSB sockets on their phones, but they dont use them to power up the battery. Grrrrr.....

    [ Evil Bill - well old habits die hard ;-) ]

    1. Return To Sender


      The micro USB on the N900 charges the battery - I'm looking the charge indicator right now :)

      Can't comment on any other Nokias, I'm the only Nokia user in the household now...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        N Series

        My N85 and N8 both charge from usb.

        ...but the N8 also comes with a small round connector for charging so that you can charge and use USB to go at the same time.

        Are nokia going to be obliged to ditch this useful feature and have to provide 2 usb sockets?!

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      FAIL the Doldrums like always

      My X6 can't even charge off the USB socket.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next stop: common laptop chargers, please.

    Magsafe or GTFO...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      laptop chargers

      aren't quite as straightforward, for example I own 2 laptops, one has a tiny 40watt charger, and one has a bulky 150watt charger.

      A standard charger would have to be at the higher power to even turn on that one, nevermind charge it. So bye, bye to the tiny low powered jobbies! The different connectors are needed to prevent you from plugging in an unsuitable charger, so even with different power outputs it would be harder to standardise those.

      The number of different types could probably be reduced quite a bit though.

  4. Tim Spence

    Already support the standard

    If I'm not mistaken, HTC already use Micro-USB across their range, so why do they need to join - and presumably pay - into this love-in?

  5. Phil A.
    Thumb Down

    Check your facts

    I think you'll find that HTC already include Micro-USB ports on all their new handsets, so don't need to make any pledges to change

    It'll be interesting to see if Apple include an extra port, remove the 30 pin one or just include an adapter (my money would be on the latter)

    1. bubba-bear

      Probably very expensive adapter

      My guess is that the micro USB / 30 pin adapter will be quite expensive, and included only in kit sold in the EU.

  6. CM

    Not all mobs

    Why do some of the latest Blackberries sport a squashed mini USB socket when the earlier ones were standard mini USB? The EC should stash the Champers until all vendors play ball.

    1. Tom Wood


      The "squashed mini USB" socket is microUSB. The new standard. And technically superior to mini USB (smaller and more robust).

      Earlier ones were mini USB because microUSB hadn't been invented.

    2. Darryl

      What's in a name

      The squashed mini USB is called...... a Micro USB!

  7. TeeCee Gold badge

    That Commission statement in full.

    "We've copied China's rules. We had to, they make most of the phones anyway. Kthxbai."

    Add spin and hype, slop on some greenwash, job done.

  8. trashbat


    Do HTC actually have any current phones that aren't already micro USB?

  9. Neil Greatorex

    So where is HTC?

    More importantly, where is Nokia?

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: So where is HTC?

      They are there - now...thanks for the catch.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    A triumph for ... The Peoples Republic of China ...

    As I recall, whilst the EU were busy congratulating themselves on being the EU (happens a lot), the PRC simply told mobile phone manufacturers that if they wanted to sell phones in China, they had to have a common charger.


    Mysteriously, the mobile phone companies, who for *years* have dicked us around with a plethora of chargers (even nokia could decide on a common connection. I have 3 of their sodding chargers) suddenly discovered that with the threat of losing the biggest market in the world, they *could* come up with something.

    Watch now, as phones come "charger optional", but at the same price as they used to be "charger included".

  11. john loader

    HTC is there

    My wife's HTC Desire has a micro USB but my Hero has a miniature USB though the socket is an odd shape. It will take standard leads but the HTC supplied lead won't fit any other miniature USB socket due to the non-standard profile. So I threw the lead way and used a stadard.

    Kindle uses micro USB so there is wider standardisation - but how do we stop the chargers coming - I have 7 that will take a USB lead at the charger end

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the cable for connecting an Amazon Kindle one of these?

    Are there different varieties of "Micro-USB" cable that we have to watch out for? Will it always work if it physically fits?

    1. Thecowking

      My Kindle charger

      Will charge my Nokia N97 and the Nokia charger works on the Kindle. So as far as those two are concerned, they definitely do work together.

    2. Andrew Baines Silver badge

      Yes, but...

      Yes, most of the time. I'm currently using a Blackberry charger with a Kindle. Works fine.

      Only gotcha is that the charger must provide enough current - Blackberry's seem very fussy in this regard, I have one USB car charger that won't work with a Blackberry, but works fine with my satnav.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The press release says that companies can supply an adapter rather than having to put a micro USB port on the casing, so whats the odds Apple simply suppy a micro USB to Apple Dock connector cable to do the connection, and no doubt charge a fortune for a replacment.

    Not sure ho w this really make a huge difference to the world

  14. Just Thinking

    Car chargers

    It has always seemed a bit odd that every phone in the world has a different charger connector, but every car in the world has the same cigar lighter to plug the charger into.

    1. Paul 37

      Ref Car Chargers

      Thats because Cuban cigars have been size-standardised for over 50 years.

      (Mines the one with the 48 Cohiba in the pocket)

    2. Jim Hague

      Re: Car chargers

      There are actually two different sizes of fag lighter sockets in cars worldwide. Better than phone chargers, true. Just don't expect your Euro lighter plug to fit into a car on the other pond side.

      Coat. Exit.

  15. Jim 59

    Next stop: common laptop chargers, please.

    Er. I already share the same chargers across different branded laptops. So long as the voltage is the same.

    1. mccp


      Try sticking to one brand - HP Compaq. I have five, all less than 4 years old, all use different charger connectors. Not only that, but the mains inlets are IEC, figure-8 or cloverleaf. Arghh.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it fits the hole its a goal

      Who doesnt share chargers, If the plug fits the socket and the lights come on, then job done! I presume it has no impact, the charger may get slightly hotter?

      1. Anonymous John

        Easier said than done.

        I spent Christmas away with family and left my Medion netbook charger at home. None of the other five or six laptop charger there would fit. All 19.2v, but different plugs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          And the moral is: Don't buy another Medion product until they start behaving too?

          1. Anonymous John

            But I like Medions,

            I bought a P6624 from Sainsburys a few weeks ago. No crapware to have to remove. And its charger also fits my Netbook,

      2. Donn Bly

        @mccp re: Lucky

        You must be (un)lucky indeed - as I have 4 different Hp/Compaq laptops between me and the kids here at the house, ranging in age from 2 months old to 5 years old, and all of them use the same interchangeable wall chargers.

  16. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle


    Eight quid at my local Tesco got me a generic mobe charger with enough plaugs to fit all the various phones in our house form ancient Nokias to Crackberries.

    It comes with a 12V and 240v power supply - both of which have a full sized USB outlet which you can use to charge up everything else.

    (and it's the fastest thing to charge from as all the laptops and PC's here have shite USB power outputs.)

    1. TakeTheSkyRoad

      Sounds great but....

      I've been there and bought a couple of those over the years (one uk plug, one eu) and found that all but the connector I use regular gets lost. Sounds like a non issue untill you have a friend over who wantes to charge their phone and you're like "no problem, my universal charger should have a connector for that"..... then when you can't find the set of fiddly connectors you're like... "oh, maybe not"

      So however it's happened (china likely helping) a big WIN that there is now 1 charger type which should work with everything. Plus if you're stuck then with the right cable you can always charge from your pc !

      Pint, cos it's a wednesday and I'm REALLY looking forward to the weekend !

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tesco charger

      > and it's the fastest thing to charge from as all the laptops and PC's here have shite USB power outputs

      That's not the fault of the laptops and PCs, it's the fault of the standard.

      A device charging from a real USB port is only allowed to draw 500mA. A dedicated charger can provide more than that, but it signals this capability to the device under charge by *shorting together* the USB data lines (well, it has to show a resistance under 200 ohms or something like that)

      That means it's impossible for a USB port to be simultaneously used for data and for high-current charging.

  17. petur

    RE: Nokia

    My n900 already has micro-usb. Thanksbye

  18. The Cube

    Would have been done quicker if a certain network vendor hadn't tried to block it

    Apparently this standard upset a certain vendor of overpriced network equipment who spent a long time and no doubt lobbying money trying to block the whole idea of common DC power connector and voltage standards.

    Bet that had nothing to do with wanting to carry on milking Power over Ethernet technology, I mean of course 100m of Ethernet cable is the best way to get power to the phone on your desk, not some nice common power connector that could be supplied on every desk by a monitor or some other device that doesn't cost $50 per port....

  19. Karl.P

    Not all mobiles are included, read the LARGE print

    "New technical standards for data-enabled mobile phones", the important word being data,

    There is still a market for for non data mobile phones, that are actually just phones, with a decent battery life.

  20. JaitcH

    Lucky Continentals with small pinouts - UK monster plugs fail again

    As a technician my universal plug comprises two wires with bared ends - the damn monster plugs they use in the UK are far too big to carry around. Malaysia, Singapore and HongKong also use the UK monsters - as do some Singaporean owned hotels in their region.

    Chinese outlets offer combo sockets - they even accept the weird Australian ones.

    Don't forget plugs and sockets don't indicate the voltage - better to check the lamp/bulb ratings for that.

    1. LaeMing


      basically took the Australian standard and turned it up-side-down (I used to like claiming it was because China was in the Northern Hemisphere and so up-side-down itself compared to Aus.).

      The Australian configuration has the advantage that a two-prong plug (no earth pin) can only be inserted one way, which since Australia wires the neutral pin back to earth at the box (extra safety), is a very good thing.

      As for the inversion: the Australian plug was designed back when plugs were all bakalite and the leads came strait out perpendicular to the wall. In this case, having the earth pin on the bottom made sense as a drooping plug would disconnect this pin last. When flat-to-the-wall plugs were thought up, the lead had to be bought out at an odd angle, so as not to clash with the position of the earth pin.

      When China started to switch from the 2-pin US plugs to 3-pin Australian plugs, they had the benefit of being further forwardln time and put the earth pin on top, with flat-to-wall plugs with the lead coming out the bottom the standard (a pulling-out-from-the-wall plug like this needs the earth pin opposite the lead so it will dis-connect last) .

      I have never encountered a better-thought-out mains plug than the Aust. one, other than the slight modernisation from China. So careful who you call "weird" :-D

      Also, China uses 240V@50HZ so using an Australian-like plug makes more sense. Silly visiting USians just don't understand why their radios blow up and their electric clocks run fast.

      1. bubba-bear

        USian clocks

        Running a USian 60 Hz synchronous clock on 50 Hz would make it run slower, not faster.

        All of the mains powered electronics that I travel with are perfectly happy on 100v to 240v, 50 or 60 Hz; and one or two will even work on 400 Hz aircraft power.

      2. Tempest

        The Australian configuration has the advantage that a two-prong plug ...

        must be like US 2-pin plugs which are also polarised to ensure the line always follows through to the equipment.

        China seems to have an eclectic mix of plugs/sockets now, at least in the newer buildings, as they accept US/Euro/Australian connectors. Pity they don't have a world standard.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      phone chargers and mains voltage

      "Don't forget plugs and sockets don't indicate the voltage - better to check the lamp/bulb ratings for that."

      It's irrelevant. The small phone chargers are invariably 100-240V so that they'll work anywhere.

      The current crop of UK phone chargers are slightly larger than their US counterparts but I think you'd be hard pushed to call them too large to carry around.

  21. davenewman

    and in the silence bind them.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Where is Nokia?

    My Nokia E5 charges from the microUSB port (well it does when the battery's not been removed to reset yet another crash). About the only thing it does that's right. Nokia of course in true style, provide a proprietary charger. Aggh.

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