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Body Proposes Uniform Charger, Cable Connector Standards for Mobile Devices

September 20, 2007

The U.K.-based Open Mobile Terminal Group has announced that a recommendation paper  has been published to pave the way for a universal, cross-manufacturer USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable connector.

The goal, the group said, would be to enable mobile consumers to connect and charge their mobile devices without having to resort to proprietary cable connectors.

Although OMTG has more of an international than a U.S. domestic presence, their recommendations could have international impact.

Here's what the OMTG said in a press release issued earlier today:

With UK consumers changing their handset on average twice a year, through contract upgrades or personal choice, there are literally hundreds of millions of chargers and data cables in circulation. On top of that, there a huge number of different peripherals such as headsets for voice calls, car kits, data cables, etc. – many with different physical connectors. This fragmentation creates unnecessary cost for the whole value chain, creates clutter and limits the freedom of selection for end user, and restricts competition by creating barriers of market entry.

The OMTP’s paper recommends that the micro USB (Universal Serial Bus) standard is used across mobile devices. USB is the de facto standard for the PC industry and it is a technology understood by consumers. Reaching mobile industry agreement on USB will help streamline the whole value chain and provide end users with a larger choice of the most popular peripherals. The customer will also be able to use their legacy home entertainment and PC equipment, as well as creating a new market opportunity for peripheral vendors.

One manufacturer that played a pivotal role in pursuing the agreement was OMTP member Nokia. Markku Verkama, Director of Portfolio Planning at Nokia Technology Platforms explains: “The OMTP’s work to bring consensus for what is such a simple yet significant recommendation will have wide reaching benefit. With the reduction of cables needed for mobile data connectivity, we can further enhance user experiences in our devices while reducing the burden to the environment.”

“The USB-IF was first to recognise a clear market need for a universal data and charging mechanism for devices. USB offers consumers ease-of-use and a plug-and-play experience making it the most ubiquitous interconnect technology in the world,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president. “We’re pleased to see OMTP support the USB technology as the standard for connectivity in the mobile space.”

Tim Raby, Managing Director OMTP commented, “OMTP members are keen to pursue the single cable connectivity development due to its multiple benefits. We see these recommendations as a clear and demonstrable example of the work we are doing to make the mobile experience less confusing, less complicated and easier for consumers.”

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