Tech Spec: Excluding wall chargers from phones

Your phone has made its last phone call; it died and it’s time to go invest in a new phone. Be warned though, you may be surprised to find that your upgrade is missing a wall charger. UK phone carrier O2 released HTC’s One X+ last year without the wall charger in the packaging. Does this mean that we are now stuck on our current charging devices? Not quite.

HTC and UK phone carrier O2 are making a more environmentally friendly switch by cutting out the wall charger. Ready for them to go? They think so. Photo by Courtland Jeffrey

HTC and UK phone carrier O2 are making a more environmentally friendly switch by cutting out the wall charger. Ready for them to go? They think so. Photo by Courtland Jeffrey

O2 and HTC worked together to try out this change for environmental purposes. According to their research, O2 found that 70 percent of people in the UK who would be buying a new phone had a functioning wall charger already in their possession. These statistics pushed their company to exclude the wall plug-in (not the USB cable) from the One X+ that was released back in October and make it available for purchase separately. Since the release of the charger-less phone, 82 percent of buyers did not purchase the separate charger. Seeing these results, O2 has decided that they are making the switch to exclude wall chargers from their entire lineup of phones by 2015.

Putting a duplicate charger in consumers’ hands would just add more chargers to landfills. Since there is now an industry standard for phone chargers (USB to micro USB) and a majority of people have already invested in products that are compatible, the switch only makes sense; it saves money for the companies and helps consumers leave a better eco footprint. When I look at this in the point of view of the consumer, the only problem is if a wall outlet breaks, the consumer is stuck shelling out more money to replace it.

While this may look like a cost-saving move by the companies, it is a well-needed move towards finding a symbiotic relationship between technology and the environment. Currently, there is no news on whether U.S. phone companies plan to make this switch, but if big companies like O2 and HTC are on board (and it continues to turn out positive results) then it is more than likely that Samsung, Motorola, Apple and the other top names will follow suit. Until that time comes for us Americans, enjoy every wall charger you get, because it could be your last (included with your phone).

 

If you have any questions, email me at cejeffre@asu.edu. Follow me on Twitter @Court_Jeffrey. Happy charging!