Innovation

Micro-USB to be a new phone charger standard

CNET's News.com has a news story about the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) agreeing on the micro-USB connector as the common connector of the future. The OMTP is a forum consisting mainly of operators, but it also includes manufacturing giants such as Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and LG.

CNET's News.com has a piece about the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) agreeing on the micro-USB connector as the common connector of the future. The OMTP is a forum consisting mainly of operators, but it also includes manufacturing giants such as Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and LG.

Micro-USB was introduced by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) earlier this year. It is even thinner than the currently ubiquitous mini-USB standard. This probably makes it an excellent successor to catch up with the ever-decreasing dimensions of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets. As with mini-USB, it is also possible to charge your micro-USB gadgets from PCs.

According to the article:

The USB-IF was first to recognize a clear market need for a universal data and charging mechanism for devices," said USB-IF President Jeff Ravencraft. "We are pleased to see OMTP support the USB technology as the standard for connectivity in the mobile space."

USB Types

Different types of USB plugs: from left to right, micro USB, mini USB, B-type, female A-type, A-type

(Source: Wikipedia)

In fact, the Chinese government has also recently mandated micro-USB as the future national standard for phone chargers. Another factor in micro-USB's favor is the EU's WEEE directive, which makes manufacturers responsible for some of the costs associated with recycling their equipment. A broadly applied standard could potentially eliminate the need to bundle a new charger with every product.

On the flip side, proprietary interfaces have traditionally helped manufacturers control the market for accessories, which always commands a high margin. Ditto to third-party accessories manufacturers.

Nick Allott, chief technical officer for the OMTP, rounds it off by saying, "OMTP itself has no power to do anything, but by making that statement that includes our membership - representing about 85 percent of the GSM market - we are making a strong public statement that, as an industry, this is the way we want to go."

At the moment, is the presence of a mini-USB interface a criteria for you when deciding to purchase a new gadget?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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