Non-standard phone chargers are one of the most annoying things of cell phones. The life-cycle of a cell phone is usually two years. That's when the contract ends and a new cell phone is offered as an incentive to stay with the cell phone provider for another two year period. Cell phone manufacturers use their own phone chargers which means that buying a new cell phone from a different company will usually mean that a different phone charger as well.
That's bad for the environment either way as you end up with two different phone chargers or two similar ones as they are always sold with cell phones. It is also bad if you need to recharge the battery of your cell phone at a friends house only to find out that the phone charger is not compatible with your cell phone.
Cell phone suppliers like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Apple, Motorola and LG have agreed to produce cell phones that are compatible with standard charging devices in Europe. First cell phones are expected next year which is expected to reduce the waste that phone chargers produce each year. About 180 million cell phones are sold in Europe each year which also means the same amount of phone chargers.
According to the New York Times only data-enabled phones (which will account for about 50% of all cell phones sold in 2010) will be compatible with the new chargers which are in the beginning sold with the cell phones. Plans are to remove the cell phone chargers later on and sell them separately. It is likely that other countries will join the initiative.
Update: It still remains to be seen if phone prices drop because of this, or if phone manufacturers and companies will charge the same price for phones that ship without chargers.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.