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.

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Comments on “China To Mandate Standardized Phone Chargers”

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sceptic says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Lars Poulsen says:

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.

Howard says:

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….

Anonymous Coward says:


“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.

Soruk says:


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

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

blowjoe says:

Re: 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!

Gunslinger says:

Re: 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.

Chris says:

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) 😛

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Peter H says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

“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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asd (profile) says:

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.
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