In a resounding case of “it’s about freaking time,” 2011 will be the year that chargers for almost all mobile phones start adopting a new standard based on the microUSB connector. The process began in 2009, when 14 prominent mobile manufacturers (including Apple, LG, Motorola, and Research in Motion, maker of Blackberry phones) realized that it might be nice to A) not have to throw away perfectly good chargers after a phone upgrade and B) be able to lend said chargers to others when their phones are dead. Finally.
Hot Hardware says that while the switch to a universal microUSB connector began a while ago, Apple has still been using its own brand of connector for all of its portable devices. They are among the companies who agreed to jump on the microUSB bandwagon and are expected to release new devices with the standardized connectors early next year. Meaning that you won’t need one of these anymore:
According to the original agreement to adopt universal microUSB standards, “Incompatibility of chargers for mobile phones is a major environmental problem and an inconvenience for users …” And that in addition to not having to buy a new charger for every new phone, consumers “should also benefit from more efficient and cheaper stand-alone chargers.” This also means that the initial purchase of a phone will also be lower because a charger will not be included in the package. (Which is great if your previous phone had the universal standards, but if it doesn’t, less expensive – i.e., non-brand-name chargers will be sold separately.)
The only catch: None of this applies if your phone is in the form of a wristwatch. Sorry, James Bond.