The good news is that a universal mobile phone charger is likely to be available in Europe in the near future thanks to efforts by the European Commission.
The EC put pressure on Europe’s mobile phone manufacturers to agree to adopt a universal charger for mobile phones and also asked the standardisation organisations CEN-CENELEC and ETSI to develop European standards for the common charger.
The standards bodies have now come up with the harmonised standards and compatible phones should be available shortly. The hope is that other countries will follow in adopting the standard.
The bad news is that the universal charger is a micro-USB connector that will be available on data-enabled mobile phones only, i.e. smart phones that can be connected to a computer.
According to a report in Euractiv, the Commission’s view was that there was no point in applying the standard to other mobile phones because most are expected to be replaced soon by the more advanced handsets.
So at the moment the ‘universal’ charger is applicable to just a quarter of the European market and most consumers won’t get the benefit.
Seems to me it’s a huge lost opportunity. It’s a bit ironic that the climate saving benefit from using a universal mobile phone charger is predicated on three quarters of European consumers going out and buying new phones!