New Universal Charger For Mobiles Set To Hurt Retailers
Retailers who sell mobile phone chargers are set to be hit hard, following a decision by 10 mobile vendors to move to a common charging device.
Currently phone retailers make high profit margins selling charging devices for a cross section of mobiles phones in Australia where there 22 million phones in use. Also set to be hit are manufacturers of universal charging kits.
Until now, phone makers have included a charger with every new handset however from next year, everything from the iPhone and the BlackBerry, to phones made by Nokia and Sony Ericsson, will be made to work with a single charger that will work across many different brands of phone.
Among the Companies set to switch are Samsung, LG Apple, Motorola and HTC. All have confirmed that they will start making phones that can be charged using a single charger from next year. For phones sold in Australia, the manufacturers will adopt the micro USB connector across all their devices, already the standard on handsets such as the BlackBerry.
In a statement made to the Times in London Ernest Doku, an analyst for mobile phone comparison site, Omio.com said “It’s a small thing, but a big issue for the consumer;” said “It was simply a foolish situation. But phone makers wanted to have their own technology for each phone to be a step ahead. It’s good for the manufacturers to swallow their pride, as this will be for the end user’s benefit.”
An executive at a major mobile phone retailer in Sydney said “We make a bucket load of profit out of chargers, up to 100% in some cases. It’s amazing the amount of times that people keep coming back to buy a charger, particularly those who travel. I know one woman who we have sold six chargers to in 18 months”.
Demand for the change came due to the impact on the environment claims senior officials in the European Union.
“People will not have to throw away their charger whenever they buy a new phone,” said EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen, estimating that unwanted phone accessories accounted for thousands of tonnes of waste in Europe each year.
The mobile phone industry has long been attacked by environmental campaigners for being one of the least green areas of technology. The GSMA, the trade organisation that represents the mobile phone industry, said that the new universal chargers will consume half as much energy when on “standby” – or plugged into the socket, but not actually charging a phone – as current charging cables. The GSMA hopes that most mobile phones by 2012 will operate using the universal charger.