A trade group supported by most of the big industry players has announced plans for a single standard phone charger cable which would work on all handsets, regardless of brand.
Ratified and promoted by Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) operator members with support from the USB Implementers Forum, this latest recommendation represents a significant step towards standardising common cable connectors resulting in obvious consumer and environmental benefits. The OMTP notes that here are literally hundreds of millions of chargers and data cables in circulation. On top of that, there a huge number of different peripherals such as headsets for voice calls, car kits, data cables, etc. - many with different physical connectors. This fragmentation creates unnecessary cost for the whole value chain, creates clutter and limits the freedom of selection for end user, and restricts competition by creating barriers of market entry.
The OMTP's paper recommends that the micro USB (Universal Serial Bus) standard is used across mobile devices. USB is the de facto standard for the PC industry and it is a technology understood by consumers. Reaching mobile industry agreement on USB will help streamline the whole value chain and provide end users with a larger choice of the most popular peripherals. The customer will also be able to use their legacy home entertainment and PC equipment, as well as creating a new market opportunity for peripheral vendors.
One manufacturer that played a pivotal role in pursuing the agreement was OMTP member Nokia. Markku Verkama, Director of Portfolio Planning at Nokia Technology Platforms explains: "The OMTP's work to bring consensus for what is such a simple yet significant recommendation will have wide reaching benefit. With the reduction of cables needed for mobile data connectivity, we can further enhance user experiences in our devices while reducing the burden to the environment."
"The USB-IF was first to recognise a clear market need for a universal data and charging mechanism for devices. USB offers consumers ease-of-use and a plug-and-play experience making it the most ubiquitous interconnect technology in the world," said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president. "We're pleased to see OMTP support the USB technology as the standard for connectivity in the mobile space."
The OMTP currently has 9 full members: Cingular Wireless, Hutchison 3G, Orange, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, T-Mobile and Vodafone. OMTP also has the support of 4 sponsors: AOL, Ericsson, Nokia, and SanDisk.