Wonderful news from Europe today, where micro-USB has been selected as the universal charger connector for wireless devices. Soon, the purchase of a new phone may no longer require purchasing new accessories or tossing old ones, just because the old and new devices use a different connector.
If the standard really becomes standard, customers will benefit both in cost savings and convenience. I'll keep my fingers crossed, though the chance that the next generation of cellular phones will use micro-USB seems excellent. Companies endorsing the micro-USB connector standard include Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments.
The standard, adopted two years ahead of schedule, is expected to halve the number of chargers manufactured each year. Micro-USB has also been endorsed by the CTIA in the U.S., a sign that a global standard may be emerging.
Some manufacturers, including RIM/Blackberry and Motorola, are already using the Micro-USB connector. Others, including Apple, have remained aloof, sticking with their proprietary connectors, often to control who can manufacture accessories for their devices.
Apple's endorsement of the Micro-USB standard means that the current shared iPhone/iPod connector may be replaced as new models are released,
For people with multiple wireless devices, the standard may also mean fewer chargers wasting power when not actually charging a device. Soon, most devices may be useable with a single charger. Score one for Planet Earth.
At the risk of making too much of a standard that may not rally pan out, I'll simply be pleased that sometimes common sense and commercial interest can do more than just crash into one another. They can work together, too.