A voluntary agreement by all the major mobile phone manufacturers comes into force today in the EU, and because of the way phones are manufactured these days it's bound to very quickly have positive repercussions around the world.
Under the agreement, all new phones announced from today for sale in the EU will have a standard micro-USB socket for charging the device.
The companies who have signed up to the measure, which is intended to reduce the number of chargers sold and discarded in Europe include Apple, Nokia, Qualcomm, HTC, RIM, LG, Motorola and Samsung.
It will be interesting to see how this impacts on Apple's next iPhone as these phones have always carried proprietary hardware interfaces. Will the next iPhone switch entirely to micro-USB, will it have a micro-USB socket alongside the standard iPhone connector and will any change only affect handsets sold in the EU?
The move was initialised a year ago by the EU to try to reduce the overall carbon footprint and the amount of waste produced by the electronics industry and very quickly all the major manufacturers signed up. It means that within a year or two mobile phone companies will begin to sell phones without chargers, instead expecting consumers to either buy one separately or use the existing charger that came with their previous handset.
Some manufacturers including HTC have already been using micro-USB sockets for charging their handsets for a couple of years, indeed I'm now on my second HTC phone with such a socket and charger.
How this is taken by consumers who may resent having to buy a separate charger, or who may went to sell or give away their old phone and charger remains to be seen. The move is being broadly welcomed by governments across Europe however.Advertisement
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.