We’ve all had one of those days. Your phone is incessantly beeping in your ear, wasting what precious little power it has left to tell you that it, in fact, has no power. Your charger is nowhere to be found. Your friend offers her charger to you. Your hopes are smashed when her charger does not fit your phone. You miss the phone call from Ed McMahon “" rest in peace “" telling you that you’ve won a million dollars. Your lift is ruined (see picture).
OK, so that’s slightly dramatized, but we’ve all felt the sting of needing an inexplicably different cell phone charger for every phone we’ve owned. Why are they different, you ask? Just because. However, change is afoot “" at least in Europe “" where cell phone manufactures have agreed to all use micro-USB as the standard for charging and data transfer on their phones.
At the behest of the European Commission of the EU, manufacturers ranging from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple, Motorola, and many others have all agreed to an industry-wide standardization. These companies control 90% of the phone market in Europe, so this is nothing to scoff at. The EU hopes that this will reduce the amount of waste thrown into landfills (though we feel like one charger every couple of years is a whole lot less than say, the one or two water bottles we throw away every week, but every little bit counts).
The universal chargers will initially be bundled with the phones, but eventually phones will not come with a charger at all, in the hopes that consumers will be reusing them. The price of the chargers is yet to be determined.
While this is only Europe-wide at the moment, the hope is that the world will follow suit, for both convenience and the environment’s sake.