Well, this is certainly interesting. Just a couple of days after a top European Union commissioner mused about the need for a universal cellphone charger, the GSM Association has now come out and announced that it and 17 of its partner companies are indeed working on such a solution, and that they plan to have a common format in place by 2012. That rather ambitious date will be a bit easier to meet considering the group's choice of connector, micro-USB, which has already gained quite a bit of acceptance as a common format. The use of micro-USB apparently won't be firm requirement by 2012, however, with the GSMA simply saying that the "majority" of new phones sold by then will support what they're describing as the universal charging solution (or UCS), which itself will have to meet a number of strict requirements in order to be broadly compatible. Of course, while everyone including the likes of Nokia, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson have signed on with the GSMA, there are a few big names absent, not the least of which, unsurprisingly, is Apple, so there's certainly still quite a ways to go before we have a truly universal standard.

[Via BBC News]

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GSM Association sets 2012 target date for universal cellphone charger