A group of mobile phone manufactures have agreed to a set of criteria for a standard mobile charger. The first batch of handsets that aren't tied to a particular charging device should hit the market in 2010.
A hodge-podge of chargers will be a thing of the past
Europe's avid mobile phone-users will soon be able to empty their drawers of the familiar tangle of chargers after leading manufacturers agreed on an industry standard.
Major mobile manufacturers, including Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson und Texas Instruments, signed a deal on Monday agreeing to a standard charger for all the cell phones they produce, the European Commission said.
A single, standard charger will cut costs to manufacturers and reduce the number of chargers thrown away when consumers buy new phones, EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said, adding that he wanted to see the common charger expanded to include other older phones, cameras and laptops in the years ahead.
"I am very pleased that industry has found an agreement, which will make life much simpler for consumers," Verheugen said. The commissioner had threatened to pass legislation on the issue if the industry failed to come up with a voluntary deal.
Older phones won't be covered by the new agreement
Phone-makers decided to use the currently available micro-USB plug for the mobiles they produce in the future. The deal also means the creation of an EU norm for new mobile phones.
Manufacturers originally developed different chargers to match their batteries, since those that were not charged correctly run the risk of exploding.
The mobile industry said the number of chargers produced every year could be cut in half when the new agreement goes into effect. It is estimated that tons of trash pile into landfills every year as consumers throw away chargers when switching cell phones.
The EU represents the world's biggest market for mobile phones, with between 350 and 400 million currently in operation and some 185 million new ones sold each year.
Monday's agreement is, however, not legally binding.
Editor: Kate Bowen