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The ZX Series of Micro-USB connectors by Hirose provide a good idea of how the standard looks.  (Source: Hirose)
Relief from the tangled mess that is the cell phone charger market today is finally in sight

Last week a group of power players in the mobile phone manufacturing industry gathered to discuss the future of phone charging and data exchange.  The Open Mobile Terminal Platform boasted such manufacturing leaders as Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG.

The decision they reached in this meeting will have a significant effect on cell phone users worldwide. 

The companies reached an agreement to put an end to the mess of incompatible proprietary power connectors that has plagued the cell phone industry for years.  The companies agreed to adopt a new USB standard called Micro-USB: a shrunk-down portable version of the USB 2.0 standard.

Micro-USB is smaller and thinner than Mini-USB which many cell phones currently support.  The standard was develop early this year and introduced by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the group responsible for new USB standards.

Market analysts state that the chief negative impact of this decision will mainly effect the cell phone manufacturers who agreed to it--possible decreased accessory sales, which have typically be boosted by manufacturers utilizing incompatible proprietary chargers and connectors.  With the new standard, consumers will no longer have to purchase a new charger if they simply get a phone by a different maker.  They will be able to use their old charger with their new phone, until a new standard is adopted.

Companies do stand to gain, though, because they will no longer have to pay for part of the user disposal and recycling fees for chargers as certain environmental laws worldwide have forced them to do in the past.  New phones will be compatible will old chargers, so consumers can keep them.  The European Union's WEEE directive had forced cell phone manufacturers to pay part of these costs.

Another financial benefit for the cell phone companies is that they won't have to include a charger with phones they sell, possibly cutting a major cost.  This will in turn allow for smaller, lighter phone boxes, which will cost less to ship and store.

To give an idea of the average specs of a Micro-USB connection, Hirose, a major manufacture provides the following the following information on their ZX series Micro-USB design:
Durability of 10, 000 cycles (mating/un-mating), extraction force of 8N (initial and after cycling), contact resistance of 30m Ohms (initial, 10m Ohms rise max. after cycling) is only an example of the ZX connector performance levels.
The biggest winner in this long coming development is the consumer, who will no longer have to worry about proprietary connectors and will be free to use old connectors or their friends connectors.

The move won't change anything overnight, as it will likely be first implemented in next year's cell phone designs.  However, the decision to commit to an industry wide adoption of a compatible Micro-USB standard promises to eventually fundamentally change a major aspect of the cell phone industry.


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It would be really nice
By fliguy84 on 9/22/2007 4:54:10 PM , Rating: 2
It would be really nice if it's also possible to charge the cellphone by using the PC's USB ports. My RAZR already has a mini USB ports, but it won't charge even if connected to the PC's USB ports.




RE: It would be really nice
By Darnell021 on 9/22/2007 5:15:02 PM , Rating: 5
I had a razr(cingular/att) and it charged fine on my windows xp desktop. what you need to do is install a motorola driver so when you connect your phone windows knows what it is and will charge it via usb.


RE: It would be really nice
By fliguy84 on 9/23/2007 1:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
Ah I didn't know that. Thanks, I'll try it out. :)


RE: It would be really nice
By feraltoad on 9/24/2007 2:04:47 AM , Rating: 2
Installing Motorola Phone Tools will provide that driver. It also lets you back up the phones data so it's easy to restore to replacement RAZRs again and again. Oh and it is possible to enter phone data and text people using your KB.


RE: It would be really nice
By OrSin on 9/24/2007 7:50:58 AM , Rating: 2
Its not the software it the cable. I dont have to install the software to charge my razr, but i did have to get a different cable. They sell generic ones for under $10.


RE: It would be really nice
By sprockkets on 9/24/2007 12:21:59 PM , Rating: 2
To some extent he is right, it won't charge without know what the device is. My Moto Ming will be detected as a mass storage device, and it is not until it is setup that it starts charging.

Motorola rocks for using that to charge and everything else.


why didnt they just make mini usb the standard?
By omnicronx on 9/22/2007 3:41:24 PM , Rating: 3
I find small connectors are more susceptible to breaking, mini-usb in my mind is the smallest it can currently go without me being concerned about it breaking all the time. I really can't think of a device too small to fit mini usb either =/




By joeld on 9/24/2007 12:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
The real beauty of mini-usb is the fact that you already have several cables laying around for cameras and other devices. I don't have to buy multiple chargers from home/school for this reason.


Finally
By Kuukko on 9/22/2007 3:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
Now let's just wait mp3 player manufacturers start using one standart. It would be nice to have all those accessories made for ipod work on other players too.




RE: Finally
By UNHchabo on 9/24/2007 3:19:39 PM , Rating: 2
Apple? Standards? Hahahaha...

Solution: buy an MP3 player made by someone else.


buy adapter apart
By Loser on 9/22/2007 4:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
does this mean we will have to buy adpater for insane cost?




RE: buy adapter apart
By Aeros on 9/22/2007 7:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
I have a Sprint Krzr that I picked up a generic charger from Wal-Mart for ~$5. Whereas, the same type of adapter from the Sprint Store costs ~$40.

I also have the option of charging my phone from any powered USB port with my existing cable for my digi cam.

Also, makes for hacking your phone so much easier!


More like this
By crystal clear on 9/22/2007 4:20:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The biggest winner in this long coming development is the consumer, who will no longer have to worry about proprietary connectors and will be free to use old connectors or their friends connectors.


Summarized very well indeed !

Very practical indeed & very convienient-lets have more of this wisdom coming in the future.

Its high time the cell phone operators do something practical/convienient.....,like ......... (you name it).




Micro vs Mini?
By FastLaneTX on 9/23/2007 1:44:16 PM , Rating: 1
Great, just great... I finally hit the point where every single portable device I own (cell phone, headset, MP3 player, GPS device, camera, etc.) all have Mini-USB ports so I only need one charger, and now these jerks have to mess things up and create a new "standard" just to make my life hell. Someone please explain to me why we need a "micro" USB connector when the existing "mini" USB connector works just fine and is already being widely adopted?




RE: Micro vs Mini?
By TomZ on 9/23/2007 7:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
As devices get thinner and thinner, the mini-USB is too thick for some of these devices. The micro-USB connector is quite a bit thinner and, according to Hirose, is more robust than the mini-USB.


Anyone else think...
By bravacentauri83 on 9/22/2007 4:35:19 PM , Rating: 2
that this will end up like USB cables were for printers back in the day? Meaning the printers used to include the cable, but then they eventually stopped including it.

Not saying it's a bad thing, but just thinking that it could cut some costs down of they have this standardized charging unit.




Only one step
By feelingshorter on 9/22/2007 4:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
I hate proprietary crap, but this is one step in the right direction. Samsung for example doesn't use the standard RCA audio jack, and Sony still uses their memory stick standard instead of SD. Oh and software to connect your phone to your computer across all brands....horrible (with some exceptions).




Standard in China already...
By Aeros on 9/22/2007 4:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
IIRC, this was already a prerequisite for any new cell phones operating in China.




By gochichi on 9/23/2007 9:14:20 AM , Rating: 1
Man, you'd think this would have happened 5 years ago at least. I think profit-making is just wonderful, everyone should do it. But polluting this planet and our life-style with these 10,000 different kinds connectors is just downright sick and stupid.

I am so glad they are finally doing this. I wouldn't care if the adapters were expensive, but they so won't be. You're talking about a fairly open standard and the competition is going to be tremendous. There's far more profit to be made by having this stuff adopted by car manufacturers and stuff... so they can make older cars appear "obsolete". Besides that, there's already plenty of money to be made from cellphones... I buy a new one every year and that's pollution enough and profit enough.




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