O2 UK wants mobile industry to stop bundling chargers with their devices

January 18, 2013

    O2 UK recently tried something with HTC’s flagship of the month, the One X+. They gave people an option to buy it with or without a charger. They were hoping that 70% of people would opt for the device sans charger. The actual result? An astonishing 82% decided they didn’t need yet another wall wart to USB converter in their home. O2 estimates that there are 100 million chargers in the UK not being used, enough to fill up four Olympic sized swimming pools. But forget about the size, think about all that wasted copper and rubber!

    So what’s the end goal here? O2 hopes that manufacturers will stop bundling chargers with their devices by the year 2015. That’s less than two years away. Can it be done? Let’s think this through.

    The first and most obvious thing that comes to mind is that wireless charging is going to explode this year. We would be shocked if the Galaxy S4 didn’t come with wireless charging. That means people are going to want to buy a wireless charger since most companies don’t bother bundling one in the box since it’s too expensive.

    Second, wired chargers are cheap to make, so not putting one in the box isn’t going to save much on the bill of materials. What is going to save a company money is the fact that they can use a smaller retail box, meaning more of said boxes can be put on a plane/boat/truck. That reduces transportation costs.

    And third … one and two should be good enough! We hope the industry listens to O2, but truth be told, companies don’t often make such major changes unless they’re forced to by the government. It was China and Europe that forced all phones to have microUSB. Which country is going to force HTC, Samsung, and everyone else to not bundle a charger?

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    • http://www.facebook.com/wahaab Wahaab Jalal Bhatti

      You added an extra “to”in the heading. IT should be “O2 UK wants Mobile industry”, not “O2 UK wants to Mobile industry”.

    • hoggleboggle

      i wouldn’t mind them not including the charger as long as they include a cable. the major flaw with this thinking though is that whilst there may be plenty of chargers available now, what do they do after a couple of years when the existing ones have started to break and are damaged or lost? then people will have to buy a charger with their phone purchase, which is a retail opportunity for the people pushing for the current ban.

    • http://twitter.com/myconoclast Dave

      Wireless charging was supposed to explode with the Palm Pre in 2009. Does anyone really want to use a charging device that doesn’t allow them to pick up the phone? Not to mention there is no standard for wireless charging, so you will have to buy a new one every time you purchase a phone.. and then we’re back to where we started.

      • Roddisq

        Yes you can pick up the phone and talk while charging…just but it back on the pad when finish…and yes there is a standad called Qi…google it. Many companies are using it.

        • ukjaybrat

          many companies are using qi, but it’s not an “industry standard” which is basically just fancy talk to say that not everyone (or nearly everyone) is using it… take the microusb for example, almost everybody is using that outside of apple. and yes you can pick up your phone and then put it back down. But if i want to use my phone while its on the brink of death i can’t. i have to let it sit there and charge until it has enough juice that i can pick it up without dying. with a cable i can use it all day long without worrying about putting it back down before it dies. wireless charging is awesome, but it wont fully replace the classic cable until it can charge from a distance (now that would be awesome)

          • Roddisq

            If you prefer a cable attached to the phone all day or you just can´t put the phone down all day long a landline phone would be better and you don´t have to worry about charging and yet the cell phone would still have the microusb for your particular case.
            What you are saying would be like: I don´t like Tv remote control because you have to point to the TV to change channels…I want to change channels when I´m taking a shower…
            I have my SGS2 wireless charging which I mod myself and yet I charge thru cable while I´m in the car or friends house. Wireless charger is a very nice accessory.
            Remember, everything in life you must give some to take some.

    • le_lutin

      I hope it’s not to cynical to think that O2 themselves would probably shift a hell of a lot of phone chargers if manufacturers don’t bundle them.

      “What’s that sir, you already have a charger? Ah, it’s probably an old, 700mah one. This charger over here at just £9.99 will charge your phone 3 times as fast”.

      It’ll be the gold plated HDMI cable scandal all over again.

    • Roddisq

      That O2 UK is plain nuts…I need chargers all the time…next thing they will ask the auto industry to ship cars without tires because there is too many around…yeah right.

    • mgb

      It would be a good idea if ALL the manufacturers would agree on a standard connector for chargers, and I am talking micro USB here. Try telling Apple that!

      • ukjaybrat

        but but but.. apple’s cable is sooo cool, you can plug it in upside down… so even a retard like me can’t possibly screw it up… even though children at the age of 2 start putting shapes in the right holes the right way

    • magenta

      I think some manufacturer states it clearly that “use only charger that comes with your phone. using different charger might damage your phone.”

      • ukjaybrat

        thats just so some idiot doesnt try to do something stupid like use incompatible voltages. the micro usb is an industry standard and all microusbs work the same (as far as charging is concerned… some companies who think they are better than the standard use a proprietary data mechanism)

    • Quryous

      .

      Three problems to be considered here:

      1) Fine idea as long as the price of the phone is REALLY reduced about $30 – $50 USD to account for the missing TRADITIONAL style charger.

      2) Not everyone has “old, compatible chargers” just lying around. There needs to be a good way to get a HIGH quality charger from the manufacturer. That is, or reasonable price and fast. Not some of this junk that is sold online.

      3) This really just looks like a ploy to tack on about $70 – $90 for the separate sale of the new style of wireless charger that no one will have as a spare. For the first generation or two (two or three years) these types of chargers SHOULD be included with the handset. Otherwise, no one will get off without being “stung” by the high prices of a good wireless charger.
      .

      • ukjaybrat

        i dunno about $30-50… but i would expect some price reduction… maybe $5-15 and $15 is probably pushing it.

    • Lara

      Not everyone wants wireless charging. Chargers should still be bundled with the phone but if you want wireless it should be an option. Just because you want it doesn’t mean everyone else does (especially non-geeks/tech savvy people). Anyway it’s bad for the battery life whenever you use your electronic device whilst it’s charging.

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