MicroUSB – New Standard For Mobile Phone Chargers

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Mobile phones have become part and parcel of our daily routine and more often when cell phones are to be charged, it happens that either charger isn’t available or it belongs to a different brand.

This situation isn’t always faced but probability can’t be ruled out.

At times, different models from the same manufacturer have different standards for charging the devices which not only annoys the end user but also frets the manufacturers. Moreover, the purchase of a new device or charger makes the older ones eligible for disposal which contributes to environmental problems.

To standardize the process and make life easier for both manufacturers and end users, an initiative was taken by European Commission back in June 2009. The Commission requested major mobile phone manufacturers to adopt a standard which will be followed for all future mobile phones in Europe.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by 17 mobile phone manufacturers consisting of Nokia, Apple, Research In Motion (RIM), Sony Ericsson, LGE, Samsung, Huawei Technologies, Emblaze Mobile, Motorola, NEC, Alcatel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Atmel.

All manufacturers agreed to adopt Micro-USB as a standard charging socket. Technical specifications for new standard have been approved by European Standardization bodies – CENELEC & ETSI. These specifications define interoperability and also take safety risks and electromagnetic emission of charging devices into account.

Starting from this year, all upcoming mobile phones from aforementioned manufacturers will be having Micro-USB sockets for charging the devices and one charger will be compatible with all mobile phones irrespective of the manufacturer.

Even a Micro-USB data cable connected to a PC/laptop will charge the device thus simplifying things for the user. Nonetheless, this is happening in Europe for the time being but other parts of the world can expect a similar harmonization of the standard.

Majority of the manufacturers have already adopted this standard and there won’t be much hassle involved for mobile phone producers in expanding this standard to their globally distributed products.

Nokia N8, for example, is a handset that has support for charging the device both by using standard Nokia charger and Micro-USB cable. Likewise, Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Desire HD also support charging through micro-USB ports along with many others.


  • Rameez Kakakhel

    It is a very very nice move. I was thinking myself why don’t they adopt one standard.
    My HUAWEI Handset has one cable with it, a USB to MicroUSB one, it is used for both charging and file transfers and is very very convenient. Even if lost I can buy one from the market cheaply.
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    I can bet APPLE forced them to use their proprietary connector as a standard :p

    • W.A

      In fact Apple was among the first ones to sign for the MoU and still they haven’t released any device based on that standard. While everyone is gradually adopting this standard all eyes rest on Apple :-)

  • ahsan

    yar my simple 1300 rs ufone can be charhged using data cable, also i m vcharging my asus mini galaxy using data cable.. but they are chgarging at chgarging urrents of 100ma.. which is hell slow.. using this method my set having 1100mah bttery takes more then 12 hours to charge.. from fully uncharged state thtrough usb, using normal charger it takes roughly 3 hours .. so what i fail to understand by the above post is that would thew new standard allow/made it compulsory to use higher charging currents as usb can provide a max of 500 ma ,, and this is the standard charging rate for allmost all normal chargers..

    • W.A

      Let me explain it to you a bit. If you happened to use older 2.5″ portable hard drives then you might have seen USB cable with 3 faces supplied with them. 2 plugs were required to plug-in to laptop/pc since HDD required more than 500mA to operate. But now a days, you get Standard-USB to mini-USB cable to do the same task. Why? it’s possible because of two reason 1) portable device external cover contains the circuitry to cater for the power requirements of hard drive 2) the quality of data cable used to connect HDD to PC does matter also. If you try to connect your portable HDD by using sub-standard USB-to-Mini-USB cable (which you get with cheap Memory Card readers) your HDD will not be detected by the system.

      Likewise, when you’re saying about charging your device using USB cable, the quality of cable and more importantly your device does matter. You can expect the manufacturer to integrate charging solution (similar to high-end devices) into low-end devices keeping in view the budget constraints that’s why they provide external charger with higt output rating.

      Talking about the micro-USB standard, as i mentioned regulatory bodies were involved to approve the technical specification and they must’ve taken all possibilities into account. A standard USB port can provide upto 900mA (USB 3.0) and to get higher output current external USB HUB can be used and for USB-charging specification as host (charger) or HUB can provide maximum 1.5A of output current. You may check this article for further information (check Power section)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usb#cite_note-23

      It’s more likely that if you use data-cable (provided by the device manufacturer with the device) your device would be taking reasonable amount of time to charge (i.e. if standard charger takes 2 hours then you might require 3 hours with cable) but this is for those devices which will follow the European standard.