Google Needs Standards Too

Orrett Morgan
Jul 13, 2009
Updated • Dec 1, 2012

After taking a look at the latest set of devices and gadgets to make it to the market, one thing is becoming clear. We are in desperate need of some gadget standards. You know the type of standards we currently have for automobiles, such as every car uses between 12” and 20” tires. All have specs for length etc. Well why we can’t have some for the gadget world.

This all occurred to me when I recently bought my Palm Pre. After buying the device and returning to the car, I expected to use the same car charger I used for my previous Blackberry Curve to charge my new device. But when I opened the USB 2.0 jack I found out I was out of luck. So on my way to South Carolina I had to stop by a Sprint store and shell out nearly $30 for a charger. Why couldn’t Blackberry, Palm, Apple and Samsung agree to use the same type of charger?

That might have been one case, but it’s not the first, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets frustrated when they have to buy a million and one variations of the same cable to do the same damn thing. I’m not saying we have to compromise performance, but just like all (well almost all) cell phone manufacturers have agreed to use either miniSD or microSD in their devices, it’s the same thing that should be done to stuff like headphone jacks chargers and better yet accessories.

I have no idea what Google and HTC were thinking when they didn’t equip a standard 3.5mm jack on the G1. Or why do we need to have ‘Apple Certified’ accessories for our iPhone’s. Yes I know the answer, its just a way for these companies to make more money even after they sell a device, because since Apple and Sony have certified accessories for their iPod and PSP line (respectively), you’ll notice that they will void your warranty if they can prove you used an accessory that was not approved by them And of course the certified accessories are more expensive cause the manufacturers are going to transfer their licensing fees to the consumer.

Thankfully there has been progress especially with Bluetooth, FireWire, CF card, eSATA and of course the indispensable Universal Serial Bus. I’m sure it’s going to take a while before I’m able to transfer my Palm Pre battery to my Motorola Q or worse notebook, or use the same charger I have plugged into my notebook for charging my cellphone, but at least some progress is here. Will ya speed it up though?

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. Roman ShaRP said on July 28, 2009 at 2:13 am

    I want more standards – for chargers, for the batteries, for the memory cards too.

    When I was buying digital camera, I chose Canon over Sony and Olympus because of standard USB cable and SD card versus Memory Stick and XD. I don’t want to be tied to one manufacturer and its “certified” goods. No way.

    I bought my wife Nokia but not SonyEricsson for the same reasons. No proprietary memory cards, no proprietary cables, no proprietary headphones. Get lost with them.

    No damn iPhone with all that proprietary stuff. No Sony PRS.

    I bought mp3-player working on AAA battery and SD card – and again to be not tied to proprietary cable and battery. When AAA runs off – I can buy another one on every corner, I can put in my pocket dozen of AAAs. The same for memory cards. I can transfer music to my player anywhere where I have card-reader, I don’t have to be tied to one proprietary cable.

    And what innovation does slow or stop AA and AAA batteries? USB, ISA, PCI, ATX, SATA, GSM, CD? Let’s them compete by features and price – not by damn proprietary ties!

    You may believe in Sony and Apple, but I think that better believe in wide open standards.

  2. Pickwick said on July 14, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    @Joe Retail

    I’m no apologist for faceless bureaucracy, but here in the UK and EU, most regulation of this kind over the last few years has been reasonably sensible, with safety foremost in mind. A few statutory warning labels and standardised connectors aren’t going to bring the average multi-national corporation to its knees, or infringe anyone’s personal liberties. The EU’s recent edict on phone chargers is sensible and long overdue, and in fact should have been statutory from the outset. I don’t much trust politicians, but I trust commercial marketing even less.

    PS – I drive a smaller lighter vehicle – best car I’ve ever had. It’s not in the least bit dangerous – but local rednecks in their 4x4s certainly are.

  3. Joe Retail said on July 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    @Pickwick: “It’s time low voltage devices of all kinds were strictly controlled and regulated ”

    No goverment regulation please. Government interferes and slows down or stops innovation. This is a voluntary standard by the industry. Not as quickly as if some government type mandated it 10 -15 years ago, but then we would be stuck with technology from 10 – 15 years ago not Micro USB which is 21st century tech.

    Besides, I don’t want the same people who force car manufacturers to make vehicles that are smaller, lighter and more dangerous (to save fuel) to issue mobile phone charger edicts or much else for that matter.

  4. Joe Retail said on July 13, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Wish no more. The car adapter you just bought for the Pre is the new standard for everyone. It’s a Micro USB and it is the same standard that the industry has agreed upon for the future and also the one mandated by the European agreement. Without knowing it, you are in the forefront of mobile charger accessories. Palm is one of the first companies that have implemented the new standard. You now have the last mobile charger you should need for years to come.

  5. Pickwick said on July 13, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    It’s time low voltage devices of all kinds were strictly controlled and regulated in the same way that mains power is.

    Overkill? Think about it – how many chargers and low-voltage adapters does your home have? Are they clearly marked so that a charger/adapter can’t be used with the wrong device? I doubt it. And we all hate to throw them out. For those of us who understand the technology, proper use and re-use is simple – but not everyone does. Most people don’t even seem to know that most adapters/chargers still consume power when they’re not in use unless they’re actually unplugged.

    Real life case – I recently helped out an elderly lady who had become confused between low voltage adapters. Overheating had melted a power socket and blown a breaker – she was very lucky not to have had a house fire.

    In fact why adapters at all? The number of low-voltage items in the average household has been increasing for years – everything from PC peripherals to reading lamps, not to mention all those things that need recharging. I have about 30 separate low-voltage items in my house and I’m no gadget nerd. So why can’t we simply have standardised low-voltage outlets on the walls? It’s not rocket science.

  6. Orrett Morgan said on July 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    @Dotan Cohen

    I’m not really for the goverment mandating it because I don’t like the idea of any government getting so involved with every aspect of capitalism. But I would like the FCC to call a meeting and hopefully get all to agree. Maybe a few perks might do the trick.

  7. Dotan Cohen said on July 13, 2009 at 11:41 am

    China has mandated that all phones be able to charge off USB. Now Europe has a similar concept, though instead of being regulated, it is voluntary for the manufacturers (under threat of regulation, mind you).

  8. Jonny said on July 13, 2009 at 10:46 am
  9. Michael Nielsen said on July 13, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Well after alot of pressure from the EU; Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research In Motion (RIM), Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments all aggred to start using micro usb as a standard charger interface.

    The first products based on the new standard will be on the market in 2010


  10. Richard said on July 13, 2009 at 10:00 am

    In Europe there will be one charger for all mobile phones. It is new arrangement and it should begin next year. Maybe USA need to declare something simillar?

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