China To Mandate Standardized Phone Chargers

from the five-year-plan dept

About this time last year, we noted that South Korea was solidifying its leadership in the mobile realm by mandating that handsets sold there have standardized charging and data cable ports, simplifying a hassle for consumers, and potentially slashing sales of high-margin accessories. Now, China appears to be trying the same thing, saying handsets sold there should be able to charge via USB. Given the growing importance of China to overseas handset vendors, if the government enforces this new rule (no deadline's been set for compliance), it could signal a significant shift worldwide. Making the change to only accommodate handsets sold in China could be difficult, whereas foreign vendors don't sell many devices into the relatively small market of South Korea. Still, implementing such a change isn't simple and completely straightforward for handset vendors, but at least China's apparently decided to use USB, instead of inventing its own standard.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    China Law Blog, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 9:28am

    Chinese Standards

    You raise a good point about China seeking to require USB and not its own standards, particularly since that was not what China was talking about only a few months ago. www.chinalawblog.com

     

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    comboman, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 10:21am

    Standardize headphone connectors too!

    Proprietary connectors are just another way that companies try to get lock-in with customers.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 6:06am

      Re: Standardize headphone connectors too!

      I have to disagree. We use a propriety connector due to high demands of dust and water protection (IP64).

      The common 2.5mm jack is a great way for dust and particles to enter your phone and destroy keypad etc.

       

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    Joel Coehoorn, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 10:21am

    "but at least China's apparently decided to use USB, instead of inventing its own standard."

    ... don't give them any ideas.

     

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    Griffon, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 10:25am

    Could be a lot better

    That is not actually as handy as it sounds there, they can still make the connection port on the phone totally proprietary and just standardize the pc/ps connection side and claim compliance. Then there is the allways fun how many pins does this usb port take dance, but at least the opstions are limited there.

     

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      sceptic, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 10:40am

      Re: Could be a lot better

      hen there is the allways fun how many pins does this usb port take dance

      As far as I know, there is only one mini-usb standard, care to explain?

      I've been angry with the various chargers for the longest time. I've had LG phones for the last 5 years and it is absolutely ridiculous that even though they've had the same battery all along, the chargers changed. I just went from vx6100 to vx8300 and their chargers have but one difference, a little ridge in the middle of the connector to make sure you cannot use the charger from vx6100 on vx8300.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 11:16am

        Re: Re: Could be a lot better

        Example: Vivitar Digital cameras (at least the one I own) use a non-standard mini-plug on the camera.

        The port connection looks the same, but the ingress to it is oddly shaped. Enough that a standard mini-USB plug will not fit it.

        You have to buy replacement plugs from Vivitar, and the cost is at least double that of any mini-USB plug I can buy at my local MicroCenter.

         

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        Geren, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re: Could be a lot better

        I can explain. As I sit here, I have three different mini USB connectors in front of me. One is on my Sandisk card reader. Another's on one of my external hard disk, and yet a third is on another external hard disk.

        Reminds me of RS-232 standard cables back in the '80s.

         

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        Lars Poulsen, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: Could be a lot better

        >> As far as I know, there is only one mini-usb standard,
        >> care to explain?

        My universal USB cable/adapter set contains 3 similar but different mini-USB connectors:
        - one called 4-pin,
        - one called 5-pin, and
        - one called mini-B

        The 4-pin and the 5-pin look extremely similar.
        My cameras (and phones) so far have all been with the 4-pin socket.

         

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    •  
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      Biff, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 7:41am

      Re: Could be a lot better

      Um, no. You misunderstand. They didn't spec the FAR end connection, they specified the PORT which is another word for Connector. This standardizes the phone side of the connection.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 10:29am

    The razr connects to USB but it's hard as all fack to get it to connect to your computer, stay connected and charge, even with motorolas software it's like I've been forced to my knees and I feel both of motorolas hands on my shoulders.

     

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      Howard, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 6:06am

      Re: USB connection for Motorola RAZR

      Have same problem with WIndows and Motorola software, but if I just plug it into my Linux laptop it stars charging immediately with no extra software! As a plus it also recognises it as a modem so occasionally use it to access my EMails when I am away from home

      This almost suggests that windows blocks the system from seeing the phone....

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 6:23am

      Re: RAZR USB

      "The razr connects to USB but it's hard as all fack to get it to connect to your computer, stay connected and charge, even with motorolas software it's like I've been forced to my knees and I feel both of motorolas hands on my shoulders."

      Having used a RAZR for the last 2+ years I have not had anywhere near these problems. I have reflashed the firmware on mine and seen some improved performance on the cell network but in your case, look into the drivers you have installed. motox and motomodders are both reasonable places to start if you want to find a solution yourself instead of depending on the vendor.

      This brings me to a point about having a standardized USB interface for charging and data, in many cases it makes it possible to find solutions even without the assistance of vendors or service providers. This is a great thing considering neither has ever proven suitable in a support role.

      This would however be much improved if it were part of an "anti-lock-in" law.

       

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      identicon
      Soruk, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 9:27am

      The razr connects to USB but it's hard as all fack to get it to connect to your computer, stay connected and charge, even with motorolas software it's like I've been forced to my knees and I feel both of motorolas hands on my shoulders. Totally agree, under Windows my Motorola L7 a right pain in the proverbial to use with the Motorola Phone Tools software. Yet, under Linux it just works as it should do. Details on this are at http://www.eridani.co.uk/docs/linux-timeport/T280.html

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 12:12pm

      Re:

      funny. never have I had a single issue with it.

      I wish it was full sized usb instead of mini though

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Beck, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 10:41am

    Accessory Ripoff

    My father picked up a "free" phone at Verizon last week. Of course the car charger for his old phone won't work with his new phone. He hit the roof when he found out they wanted $30 for a new car charger.

     

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      laxander, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 9:56am

      Re: Accessory Ripoff

      i wish that a third party would make this stuff, it would be a lot cheaper, (they want $50 for a new battery for my motorola!)

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 11:52am

    Why do you think they practically give cell phones away? It's just like printers. They almost give away the printers, selling them at cost, thereby losing money in the process. Then they rip you off with high ink prices and sue everybody that tries to make cheaper generic cartridges. Cell phone manufacturers make their big bucks in all the accessories. That's why they also make a different chargers for the different models of the same brand. Yeah, you may get a free phone, but by the time you pay for a second home charger and/or a car charger, a decent carrying case, and so on, you're in for another $50-100, maybe more. If you spring for a good quality bluetooth headset at standard retail price, you're probably gonna pay another $80-120 or more just for that. However, I do not agree with that business strategy. It's dishonest and deceptive. Charge me what the stupid phone is worth, and then let me buy my accessories at a reasonable price. A charger of any sort should never be more than $5-10. Carrying case, more than $15, maybe up to $25 for a really fancy one. Headsets, honestly, no more than $40-50. And yes, for the sake of decency, PLEASE standardize connectors. If they make one single type of charging connector and one data port connector, then the market opens wide up for competing products, which is very healthy for consumers. If you have the best product, you have nothing to worry about. And if you don't have the best product, stop suing people and trying to sell us crap, and make your products better.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      blowjoe, Dec 21st, 2006 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      ok anon coward...your theory is pointless.....(that carriers make money off accesories) heres how it actually works....u buy a "free" phone because you have promised to give your carrier x amount of money over a period of 2 years, and maybe more if your dumb
      enough to use services that are not in your plan.
      So u get a 50 a month plan, uve guaranteed to give them 1200 dollars.. the reason that they sell overpriced accesories is that ppl are dumb enough to buy them, but its hardly how carriers make their money. u really are stupid to buy accesories at a carriers retail store when u can get them for half as much at the grocery store or online....the kids dad who got mad about it is a dumbass, heres an option-Dont buy it there!

       

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      identicon
      Gunslinger, Dec 21st, 2006 @ 11:40am

      Re:

      Charge me what the stupid phone is worth, and then let me buy my accessories at a reasonable price.

      Yeah, I seriously doubt you're going to pay $300-$400 for a phone. It's not the manufacturers giving the phones away, it's the carriers, and it's in exchange for the contract. The manufacturer has to get a phone to the carrier for as cheap as possible and the only way to make money is the accessories, because the carriers won't pay for the value of the phone, because of the competition.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Chris, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 12:29pm

    Not all is bad.

    I have to say i was impressed when i bought a Nokia 6288 recently. They've pretty much always had the same charge design, but they made it smaller for this phone (probably due to space constraints), but, as well as a charger in the box in the smaller format, they include an adaptor so you can use your old charger with the new format.

    Thier pc suite is pretty handy/stable/feature packed too.

    (And no i don't work for them) :P

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 1:45am

    THey should specify which usb it must be, and make sure it is a standard one. Is the voltagge right?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 5:54am

    Lots of connectors for USB...

    There are two types of normal connectors:

    USB A: Which you see on the sockets on your computer.
    USB B: Which you see on the sockets "big" devices like printers and music keyboards, and some older USB hubs.

    Then there are three mini-connectors:

    USB mini-B: The most common mini-connector used on small devices (cameras, newer hubs and card readers, etc.)
    USB mini-A: A plug that looks almost but not quite like the USB mini-B connector. It is used on far less devices, most use mini-B instead. Mini-A connectors do not mean nessesarily that the device supports USB Host, it just means that the manufacturers decided to be annoying, most of the time.
    USB mini-AB: They support both USB mini-A and mini-B, meaning that the device can act as a USB host (like a computer) or a USB slave (like a normal device). This is used in PDAs, where you can attach another USB device (like a camera or storage) to the PDA, and also connect the PDA to a computer for syncronisation.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    rox, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 6:05am

    Yeah, this reminds me of this brocade fiber switch, i had to set up once. It came without a cable and the bastards charged $200 for a cable, which was literally a regular serial cable with shuffled pins on the switch side. This sort of behaviour should be severely punished by the market. The best thing to do is to simply not buy that crap.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Peter H, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 7:31am

    Depends on how USB will be used..

    The USB standard states that you only get a limited current out of the port unless the device asks permission (hence, for instance, some of the RAZR problems). As long as the Chinese ensure devices are OK with little power the idea is very workable as it is.

    USB wasn't designed to be just a power source, it requires intelligence on both sides of the link (well, OK, that's stretching it with Windows, but I digress) - this will require intelligence in chargers too if current draw is high, as is typical with phones that charge quickly.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 11:28am

      Re: Depends on how USB will be used..

      This is probably why some USB hard drives plug into 2 USB ports on the computer side to up the current levels.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 12:00pm

    "Why do you think they practically give cell phones away? It's just like printers. They almost give away the printers, selling them at cost, thereby losing money in the process. Then they rip you off with high ink prices and sue everybody..."

    Actually I have never seen any cell phone MANUFACTURERS giving free phones. A lot of cell phone operators like verizon do offer a 'free' phone if you sign up for a plan that you must pay for certain period of time or you have to return the 'free' phone. The cell phone manufacturers get paid either way...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 2:01pm

    Re: bluetooth

    Yes, that would be great: wireless charging! No limit on the voltage or the amperage.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    snoop kitty kat, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 7:32pm

    samsung chargers

    all the samsung phones i've had all used the same voltage and connector on the charger.
    it's easy upgrading, you just keep all your old accessories.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    dave L., Dec 21st, 2006 @ 6:52am

    standard critical accessories on mobiles...

    it does make a lot of sense. Nokia auxilliaries is notorious for unreasonably high prices, even for old models. They're known to produce variations on a same fondational model series. Cool!

     

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    Conhen the Barbarian, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 8:02am

    Will definitely save on cables?

    or will it reduce cable clutter, because you will now bring a cable with you wherever you go at work or at home. Granted the cable is less pollution and cheaper, so the Chinese are doing it for green reasons, sounds honorable enough?

     

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    randomguy, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 7:52pm

    sounds good to me

    always try to make it easier for the consumers

     

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  •  
    identicon
    richar crown, Jul 25th, 2007 @ 6:45am

    business transaction

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    It is my great pleasure to let you know that doing business with us will be good time experience you will never let go of your memory.
    I will be expecting a reply from you as soon as possible.
    Thanks.
    THE MANAGING DIRECTOR,
    AIM ARROW NIGERIA LIMITED.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    asd (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:31am

    We've seen some really bizarre and silly lawsuits filed against Google over the years, but this latest one wins hands down. Eric Goldman gets all the credit in the world for sending this one over. Someone has filed a handwritten lawsuit against Google, asking for $5 billion in damages, because his social security number, when turned upside down and scrambled spells Google. And then it gets weirder. The war on terrorism makes an appearance, as does a Burton snowboard. If you're reading this via RSS, click on through to see the filing in all its handwritten glory. Update: As pointed out in the comments, the guy actually filed 8 other things with the court, including a rather detailed description of how the Philadelphia 76ers play a key role in the code to unscramble his social security number to spell Google. Corporate Gifts Promotional Products Promotional Products

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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