Sunday, October 25, 2009

A standard battery charger will benefit individuals, organizations and society

We discuss the importance of standards whether they are developed by a dominant company, an industry trade association, a professional society, a government or international organization, or they begin as an Internet Request for Comments.

The International Telecommunication Union has released a recommended standard design for chargers for cell phones and other portable devices, and a number of large manufacturers have committed to supporting it in the near future.

This standard takes on added importance with recent innovation in and rapid growth of the market for smart phones and other mobile Internet access devices.

Of course, we are still stuck with a variety of sockets to plug our chargers into:

It's too bad someone did not standardize sockets before nations deployed electrical
networks (click the image to enlarge):

How will this new charger standard effect manufacturers of phones and other portable devices? How will it effect the consumer? How will it effect the environment? Will any individuals or organizations be harmed if this new standard catches on?


  1. Roselle Dela Cruz and Janice Mastrángelo2:51 PM

    Many smart phones and portable devices like laptops have anticipated the difference in electrical standards in different parts of the world. If you take a look at a laptop’s AC adaptor, it handles a range of 100-240 volts. This range surely covers the US electrical standard of 110 volts. The capacity of these laptop AC adaptors can be put to the test when going abroad. During a trip to the Philippines last year, charging laptops was not a concern because the adaptor was able to handle the 220-volt power outlets, which is the standard for that country. Unfortunately, the smart phones we owned at that time didn’t accommodate their electrical standard. Electrical converters for power outlets for our other devices had to be used.

    Creating a universal standard on electrical outlets can certainly create pros and cons. For people who travel to foreign countries with their devices (smart phones, laptops, PDA, mp3 players, etc.), this change can definitely make taking gadgets abroad a breeze. In today’s world where almost every transaction can be done with a press of a button from their phones or laptops, this is definitely a change in the right direction. But really, this is only benefits those who travel outside their home country. And what about those who are left behind by the times? Those who do not live by these handheld and portable gadgets? The change can be daunting as they have to make appliances, television and even desktop computers compatible with the new standard.

    Overall the change to a global electrical standard for chargers can be a very overwhelming, let alone expensive, task. There is really no need to do this since there are manufacturers who make travel converters with different prongs for use in other countries.

    But if this were to happen, a sure way to ease the change to a global electrical standard for chargers can start with making devices compatible with different electric outputs, just like the AC adaptors made for laptops. Because of the variety of different electrical plugs used, moving to a global standard plug can be difficult. Truth is, this will only be a problem for anyone when going out of their home country. So for the mean time, purchasing an electrical converter for power outlets is a temporary, and really the only, solution.

  2. The new standard is not for the AC plug in the wall, but for the connection between the charger and your portable device.

  3. There are goods and bads to the ideal of a universal standard charger. A definite positive to the standard is going to almost any Office Depot or Fry's and getting the right charger the first time shopping for it. Another good thing about the standard charger is that internationally one could travel and not have to worry about getting power. A negative side, is as mentioned in the post, was a dominant company taking over the standardization. This could lead to another possible monopoly in the technological era. One may think that almost assuredly Google or Microsoft will want the rights to anything standardized and which accommodates theirs and the peoples needs.

  4. There are goods and bads to the post "A standard battery charger will benefit individuals, organizations and society". Definitely a good thing about a standard charger would be the fact than anyone can go to any store that carries electronics and get the right charger the first time they shop for it. Another good thing about an internationally standardized charger is that it would make traveling much simpler. Traveling and doing business in other countries is important these days. For as long as the airports admit it people will be bringing along their phones, laptops, electronic tablets, etc. A bad thing might be, as mentioned in the post, a dominant company taking over the charger. This could be the beginning of another monopoly in the technical era. One might think that Microsoft or Google would want to take over. Never the less, once this standardized charger catches on, restaurants and other places like, Starbucks, Schools, and places of employment will have the standard charger around to keep in customers and will participants.