Universal Charger has arrived at MWC2010

This blog was created mainly to cover the conferences I attended as part of my role at the time, I’ve moved on to other things since then and so have not posted, however I went to Mobile World Congress for the first time in many years where I had the pleasure to work with David Goodstein of GSMA promoting Universal Charger, here is a post from David summarising the week better than I could:

 

I’m just back from Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, working through emails, business cards and expenses receipts.

That was my forth MWC and definitely the most exciting, principally down to my favourite project….. Universal Charging Solution.

 

UCS featured at GSMA Pavilion along with other GSMA initiatives. We didn’t have any super fancy give-away’s like NFC project (handsets), Mobile Broadband project (modems) and RCS/OneAPI (USB disks) but the UCS animation was visually appealing and we gave away some 1500 postcards, mostly donated in handfuls to UCS partners (Telefonica, Orange, NTT DoCoMo, Orascom, Motorola, Sony Ericsson etc.). The postcards are an example of a low cost consumer awareness initiative that could be available in retail outlets in the very near future.

Motorola and Sony Ericsson had UCS devices at MWC. They kindly donated some samples which I was able to demonstrate, along with the ST Microelectronics sample we already had.

Sony Ericsson Greenheart Charger

Sony Ericsson GreenHeart EP800 (EU version)

These were super useful in my further recruitment efforts. I spoke to more operators and vendors with a view to getting additional support  for this popular initiative . When you put a charger with detachable cable and micro-USB connector in front of someone, they instantly get it. There seems to be universal acceptance/expectation that micro-USB is the ubiquitous connector for the foreseeable future. Sagem, Samsung, Modu, INQ and non-mobile vendors such as Garmin and Sensaris acknowledged their commitment to Micro-USB.

Powermat had a big display. Maybe it’s down to the fact that they were opposite GSMA pavilion and their characteristic "beedle-beep" attach/detach signature is now hard wired into my brain…. but I just had to go and visit. They seem to think that the time for wireless charging has come and invested a lot in their presence at MWC. Qualcomm also demonstrated wireless charging. I have nothing to say good or bad about the efficiency, sustainability or usability of these solutions. But I will say that Powermat seem to have thought through transition from wired to wireless by producing a wide range of tips (connection adapters). So do Energizer who were kind enough to give me one of their products for which I was very grateful and I’ve used twice since. The box contained 6 tips. I will use 4 (lots of legacy receptacles in my household) and dispose of 2 (in a responsible fashion). Powermat and Energizer are more pleased than anyone to see harmonisation of connectors.

Powerkiss was a particularly interesting prototype on display. It addresses donor charging by providing a plug-in dongle that enables wireless charging from a table. Imagine this in Starbucks / Libraries / corporate meetings. Of course questions about intermediate technology, interoperability and sustainability arise. But for me, the interesting thing is the implied range of transitionary and future charging scenarios.

The bottom line is … UCS features such as common connector, detachable cable and decent (>850mA) output will facilitate a significant other ecosystem, in the same way that Apple connector already does.

Novoro "TheTravelOne" is an after market 1.0A charger with interchangeable socket pins (for wall) and a USB Std-A output port for versatility. They have chosen to supply only Std-A to Micro-USB cables with this product and do not make "tips" or other cable types. In fact, their entire product range (Bluetooth car and head sets) is micro-USB.

Ian Hay, Orange surpassed himself and GSMA PR staff by blagging his way into the V.I.P. suite to present Mr. Stephen Fry with a UCS charger.

Ian Hay with Stephen Fry

Mr Fry self is a self confessed smart phone / twitter / social network addict. While presenting GSMA Awards, Mr Fry admitted to owning 18 smart phones and consequently his "bedroom is a mess". As Mr Fry exited stage, Mr Hay exited the arena like Roadrunner!

road-runner-1

By all accounts (Ian’s account) Mr Fry gratefully received the charger and has since emailed his appreciation and thanks. We hope that this might lead to some UCS related tweets from Mr Fry and who knows where that will lead. We have reserved a UCS charger for Neelie Kroes, new EU commissioner for Digital Agenda. I hope Sony Ericsson and Motorola will continue to provide additional samples so that we can continue these PR efforts

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