Power play from GSMA (MWC)

At last, a bit of sanity in the power charger world. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the GSM Association announced that 17 mobile phone makers will follow RIM’s Blackberry Storm by adopting mini-USB as a standard charger for their devices.

Hooray! I can bin all of those proprietary chargers. Well, I actually binned them all a long time ago when I bought a universal USB charger for £9. I don’t want to pour water on this hot new development but some of the details have to be filled in. mini-USB will be one end of the connection but what will the device connector be like? Does this mean the end of proprietary connectors to the phones or does it just mean that the expensive, inefficient mains chargers will be eliminated? Instead of a drawer full of spaghetti with large lumps at the end, will I end up with the same spaghetti mess with smaller lumps?

At best, the manufacturers will adopt a common standard for the power leads using a separate socket but what will happen with the data connection. Bluetooth has it’s charms (honestly) but a cable connector will always be supplied, I fear. It’s nice that Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and company are in agreement but I fear that proprietary interests will still rule. Now you’re talking with each other, guys, why not get the whole interface standardised and do us all a favour, not just the bottom line of your annual accounts and greenwashing? While you’re at it, get the MP3 player and other gadget vendors on-board.

The new connectors will start to appear this year and be fully adopted by 2012. I’ll be watching what happens with interest.