Universal Chargers: nothing new for Korea

Mobile | 2009/02/28 11:49 | Web 2.0 Asia

(Contributed by Andrew Ace)

It was recently announced in Barcelona that all the major cell phone manufacturers will start to use a single universal charger by the year 2012.  This announcement at the 2009 Mobile World Congress will also include Korean giants LG and Samsung.  Soon, a universal Micro-USB technology will be used across the board. 

So, what’s the big deal?

Korea has had a universal charger for a few years now.  Any cell phone can use the same charger.  Imagine you’re over at a friend’s house and your phone’s battery is running low?  No problem, use their charger to bring your battery back to life.  How convenient is it to be able to run into a convenience mart and drop off your phone to be recharged, come back and it’s ready to go.  Now the rest of the world is catching on and deciding that is a good idea. 

Of course there are some good and bad that will stem from this initiative.  Luckily, I feel that the good far outweighs the bad.  First of all each cell phone operator, at least in the US, has developed its own proprietary connection for its cell phone.  So we have many different styles of connectors.  It’s bad for the companies because they will be losing sales by selling their own chargers and connecting wires.  It’s good for the consumer because now we can easily purchase a cheaper costing charger from any electronics store or even borrow that extra charger that our friend has, permanently.

Other than that, I only see good possibilities moving forward with this initiative.  I think we will all start seeing the wasted production of all these different chargers going out the door.  This may create extra production capacity which can be used for something else creating a more efficient world.  Also, it will become less of a strain for the environment having to deal with all the extra chargers that are unused throughout the world and just thrown away.  Companies could even start leaving chargers out of their original packaging.  If they decide to build chargers out of their pricing models they could possibly increase their revenues through selling chargers upon customer request.

So what does this have to do with Korea?  It shows that once again an initiative that Korea decided was good for the country has been validated.  Korea continues to remain at the forefront of cell phone technology and thinking.  Perhaps wireless power adapters will be the next addition to Korean handheld devices.  Maybe that’s a little too forward but since we won’t be seeing the new Micro-USB chargers coming out in full force until 2012 we can already count one point for Korea being a couple years ahead of the initiative.


Andrew Ace is a Korean-American entrepreneur who graduated from Boston University in Finance and Law.  He has worked with a couple different US start-ups such as www.maestro.fm.  Andrew originally began his interest in technology start-ups when he founded Job’oozle, formerly www.joboozle.com (warning: joboozle.com is now a link farm), while he was in college with 5 other students at Harvard and Dartmouth.  His experience is in social networking and viral marketing techniques.  He is currently working on a new start-up in Korea. 

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