There are times that the simple cords seem a lot like fingerprints and snowflakes; that is those mobile phone chargers, which have for years been very specific to a particular phone. Even among the same manufacturers there have been a multitude of chargers. But by the time of the next presidential inauguration we might be down to one truly universal charger.
At least that is the plan. At this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association), the trade group that represents more than 750 of the world’s cell phone operators, has banded together to create a single mobile power charging cable. This would reduce raw materials and be a savings not only to phone makers, but also to the end consumer. The plug would take the design of the mirco USB plug, suggesting that mobile handsets could be charged via a PC’s USB port.
Several manufacturers already support a similar type of plug, and this is the one that is standard on most Motorola devices, and some Blackberries. A universal plug would certainly be of benefit to those with multiple devices, meaning that you’d only need to travel with one cord to power all your devices.
This of course follows the trend with consumer electronics manufacturers to standardize cable for larger devices as well. Currently there are two main rival cables. The first is the smaller two-plug cable, used with home electronics that don’t need a ground connection, such as a DVD player, and the other is the larger three-prong cable, for laptops and those devices that require a ground.
About the only loser in this new scenario are those makers of third party “replacement” cables, but otherwise a universal charging cord for mobile phones is a universal win-win.
Windows to the World of Mobile
The rumors were that they would, that they wouldn’t and back to that they would. Well, this week Microsoft unveiled the new Windows phones, which are based on the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS, and feature a new user interface and more browsing options.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled these phones, which are being developed by mobile partners HTC (maker of the G1 “Google Android phone” for T-Mobile), LG and Orange. These phones will also feature two new services, which include “My Phone,” offering the ability to sync text messages, photos, video, contacts and more to the Web; and “Windows Marketplace for Mobile,” a new online storefront that will offer direct-to-phone apps.
“Windows phones bring together the best of the Web, the PC and the phone so you can connect instantly to the experiences you care about, no matter where you are,” Ballmer said. “We’re working with partners across the industry to deliver a new generation of Windows phones that break down the barriers between people, information and applications and provide great end-to-end experiences that span your entire life, at work and at home.”
While you won’t see these new handsets on shelves just yet, attendees at the MWC did get a peak at tomorrow: