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Who needs 'em? 82% of O2/HTC customers refuse USB chargers.

htc one x plus

File this under "trends in mobile".

A three-month trial launched in October by mobile network O2 found that the vast majority of customers who participated were happy to purchase their HTC One X+ without a charger. The pilot offers the HTC One X+ handset with just the USB-to-micro USB connection lead to plug into existing chargers. Buyers who did not already have a charger had the option to purchase a charger separately from O2 at cost price.

Much like OEMs opting to not include headphones with current purchases, especially in the US, manufactures may soon opt to not include a charger as well. Read on for the details...

In the last few years, O2 has made progress towards a universal charging option in hopes to eventually encourage consumers to cut down on unnecessary environmental waste, which could also mean the elimination of manufacturing a considerable number of duplicate chargers. The company had previously stated that it would phase out in-box chargers by 2015.

Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 said of the pilot:

"More than four-in-five of our smartphone customers who have participated in the trial are willing to buy a new phone from us and to use an existing charging device to attach it to the mains.

"The results of the trial demonstrate a clear willingness among consumers to consider and respond to the environmental argument for taking a phone charger-free. I now hope that as a result of this study the rest of the industry will now consider joining us in our campaign to take chargers out of the box for good."

There are 30 million new phones sold in the UK each year, with as many as 100 million unused chargers. If all the chargers were thrown away, it would have a landfill volume equivalent to filling four Olympic swimming pools, O2 said.

Phil Roberson, regional director of the UK at HTC, said:

"A unified approach across all manufacturers and retailers would dramatically decrease the industry's carbon footprint, not only in terms of manufacturing but also packaging and transport."

If the results of this pilot were repeated with all handsets, there would be 24 million chargers fewer sold annually in the UK – a huge environmental saving.

With the slow rise of Qi Wireless charging and the ubiquitousness of micro USB chargers in the mobile world, is this a good move? How do you feel about "just buying a phone" with no accessories? Let us know in comments. 

Source(s): Environmental Leader, O2

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Reader comments

Who needs 'em? 82% of O2/HTC customers refuse USB chargers.

75 Comments

They are speaking of the charger not USB cables; you can indeed plug your USB cable in a computer and charge the phone but if you do not have a computer around? What do you plug in the wall socket?

I'm fine with it as long as they take the cost out, or add something else in place of the chargers like free apps.. Take the chargers out, then take the cost out, or add something in it's place.. That is the only way any of us should be willing to accept this.

Even when the phones you have been buying have used the exact same cable for the past however many years? Why not just keep the one until it stops working?

Well, I always have an extra amount of something if I can... Just in case one does decide to break or get lost. Right?

One extra is good, but with virtually any mobile device coming with a USB charger, you'll have 4 or 5 in no time.
 

The article stats it wasn't free...but they sold the chargers "at cost" (one would assume a couple bucks, (or squids or pints...ounces? Loons?  Na, that is Canucks.  Wait, Pounds...  crazy Union Jacks...))  So, they would have sold the phone for $X minus Charger Cost, but obviously they are not going to put the extra couple of dollars to the bottom line, since this is being done out of purely environmentally charged reasons. Yea, sure...

Yes but if your current chargers are underpowered then it could take a lot longer to charge your new device.

Yeah each wall charger has a different rating and the power rating is always increasing as smartphones become more powerful and get bigger batteries.

I certainly wouldn't buy or sell a used a phone that didn't include the charger.

Exactly. And newer chargers are not only more powerful, but also smaller and nicer, and Nokia's are even beautiful. And when we sell our old phones here in Europe we sell them with their original cables, chargers, headphones and packaging. That's just the natural thing to do. And we sometimes buy additional chargers, to have one at the desk at the office, one at home, and sometimes a third one for travel. Oh, and sometimes you need additional ones for guests, if they don't carry around their own. So no, at least one charger per phone is not waste, it's only reasonable. Those American networks are just being cheap bastards, and naive people are falling for their eco-BS.

I am OCD enough that I won't charge my phone unless it is the cable that comes with the phone. This sucks for me then. LOL
 
Even back in the days when they had two piece hockey sticks, if I had an Easton shaft, the blade I attached had to be Easton too even though other brands fit and people combined different brtands with great results everytime.
 
With cell phones it is the entire package, including the ear buds I never unwrap and the USB cable and charger. It is a set and it affects resale value.
Boo to this idea!

You have the option to buy the charger together with the handset if you are so concerned about resale value.

Do you purchase used merchandise as long as nothing is missing?

I think having ocd sucks. But have you tried overcoming your ocd?

Real question. Not trolling.

From the comments of that CEO it only sounds as if he is considering the benefits to their respective companies. Not the consumers. My take is that unless the carrier / phone manufacturer can show ME cost savings I expect to get a charger with a phone purchase and would raise all kinds of hell if I didn't get one.

Chargers are different depending on the device, this is a very stupid idea unless you come up with a universal charger standard that all phone manufacturers adhere to.
The numbers and letters on the charger unit are not there just for fun, they indicate the charger output, input voltage, amps and hertz, if you match the wrong charger with incompatible device you can mess it up.
 

"In 2009, Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Texas Instruments agreed to develop a universal standard phone charger for the European market, at the behest of the European Union. The resolution signed by the mobile phone and chip makers agreed to create a common charger, based on a micro USB connector, by January 2012." Seems like they've been trying to work on that.

I take it u live in America.... In Europe... They have been striving for a standard phone charger... Apple even had to supply iPhones with the 32pin to mini USB converters.... In America... Then u would be correct...

If only they would push that here in the US, but people are stubborn and want ALL OF THE CHARGERS AND THEY WANT THEM NOW

Just wanted to comment on your avatar - I saw Death From Above 1979 in October 2012. So glad they are back together making great music again.

Agreed! Although I did not get a chance to see them on that tour, couldn't make the trip. :( Hope you had a great time, I am envious.

Electrically they're pretty much standard these days in my experience and will connect to any mains (100-240 vac, 50-60 Hz) and send 5 vdc out through USB. The variation is in the plug shape for your country and the current-generating capacity. Some phones can take advantage of more capacity when charging. That being said, it is convenient to get another "freebie" charger to use someplace.
Maybe after a few more years, after they're truly ubiquitous, it will be more reasonable to take them out of the box, like the USB cables that some manufacturers are leaving out of printer boxes these days. Surely most people know somebody with several cables laying around that they won't use.

And here's the problem. Tech noobs are concerned about stuff like this. They have no idea what electronics are capable of these days.

What really winds me up is that they say this is to cut carbon emissions and cut costs to the consumer, but really it's cutting costs at their end in order to drive up profits. Everyone knows HTC's struggling at the mo - they should just say it how it is!

Thus is the sham of 'going green'.  When a company says 'we're not printing X anymore to go green', what they are really saying is they want to cut a few dollars on their overhead to not have to pay for paper, postage, printing, etc.... while not actually lowering any prices (though one could argue that prices not going up is the offset).

I charge my phone trough my notebook (I know that it is slower, but I dont mind). I have never used charger yet I have three of them lying home.
I would definitely opt out.

Let me guess, the price will stay the same if not go up without getting a charger with our purchase. Yeah it's all about the good ol' environment. Never mind the fact that their going to be making millions from having to not manufacturer the charger but charging us for it. Give me my charger I'll be paying for it anyway.

If u read the article... They will sell the charger (at cost) with purchase of a phone... Which would amount to a couple dollars as compared to a regular priced one which would range from 10-20 bucks... I wouldn't get one cheaper than that because its most like cheap and easy to break...

The selling at cost was for the trial stated above... not the norm set going forward. They were only testing to see how people would react.... hence if people reacted too badly, they would give them charger at cost.

When this kind of thing does become the 'norm', do you really think you'll be able to opt to buy one 'at cost'? Keep dreaming... or rather, where can i get my 'at cost' Nokia headphones, even tough I paid full retail price for mine? Even if 'at cost' is $1, shouldn't my 920 be one dollar cheaper than the one that does come with it?

Of course, when time moves forward, then excuse will be 'well the price didn't go up'. Its what happened with gaming consoles over the years and people pretty much accepted it and got used to it.

I actually use my USB charger more than my AC charger. I'm fine with it though. I have plenty of them laying around. 

When I purchase a new phone..the basic accessories should be included such as the charger that the phone uses...

Agreed. However, I wouldn't mind an option to opt out and thus lower the price. Otherwise, the device should come with everything required to operate in and of itselft with no bring your own items.

If the I industry can really come to a universal charging standard I'm fine with it. I use a BlackBerry Bold for work and tried using that charger to charge my Lumia. I plugged it in and came back a few hours later. Apparently the BlackBerry charger doesn't output enough voltage to charge my Lumia. I've gone through 3 Bolds from work and get a home and car charger with every phone. So I have a ton of chargers, but the home chargers can't be used with my Lumia, the car chargers work fine but I use a dual plug charger and stuff the others in a drawer or try to give them away. But I would be fine with new phones coming with no charger, the wires are to short anyway.

This may work for some devices but for example. My Lumia 920 does not charge the same with other micro USB as compared to the OEM charger. The OEM is faster and allows me to still use it when low battery vs others do not and take much longer.

That's cause new Lumias come with awesome chargers like the AC-50E, which supplies a whopping 1.3A, while regular chargers from old phones do no more than 1A, and sometimes as low as 0.5A (the same as a PC USB port, that charges your battery slower, than your Lumia discharges it).

I don't think i have ever used any of the supplied earphones over the past few years, they have all eventually ended up in the bin still in the wrappers. Chargers on the other hand, you can never have too many imo.

Really? I love the supplied headphones as they all have built-in microphones (for hands-free). I keep 1 set at work, 1 in my car, and the best ones at home. They break after 1-2 years, so I can't get enough of them!

Um, that's an Android phone in the post, right? I'm going to turn into dust here (*navigates away*).

It's nice to have extra chargers lying around but its not like I can't buy extras either.  If we were made to buy chargers, the charger manufacturers would need to compete more and I think that would help advance better charging technology faster.

One thing I really liked about my N8 is that I had the option to use the microUSB cable to charge through the USB port via a computer, or to use the AC adapter - I almost always used the AC Adapter as it charged my phone a lot faster.  My Lumia 900 -  I have no option other than to use the USB cable.
 
With the rise of wireless charging capabilities on newer devices, I am definitely looking forward to that on my next device; it just bothers me to think that if I somehow mess up the USB port on my Lumia 900, I won't be able to charge it at all.

I've only had the L900 for a couple of months, and see only one charging port.  Is there another one somewhere on the device that I've managed to overlook?
 
My N8 has two seperate charging ports -micro USB and a 2mm charging connector.

No, charging is via USB but you can plug it into a USB wall socket to charge it faster. I've had my phone for 2 years now, and think you'd have to try REALLY hard to ruin the mobiles USB socket.

Yes, with my Lumia 900, I use the microUSB and plug it into the wall adaptor that came with it; my concern is on the wear and tear, over time, of the charging port on the phone as I have to charge my phone daily.  
 
I simply like the idea of having more than one way to charge my phone, and with the current Lumia's (and hopefully future Lumia's) wireless charging will be that second option for me when I upgrade next November.
 
 

All for it if they can standardize the power output of the chargers as well as the connector.  Too much variance in mobile phone chargers with power output ranging from 500mA to 1.5A, all using microUSB.  In the end there should be 1 wired charging standard (power and connector) and 1 wireless charging standard (Qi please.).

Back in the 80s-90s a lot of the cd-cassette players came without a cord. It didn't matter, there were likely others in the house and if not there was always RadioShack.

Of course the catch is standardization.

If they sell you the charger seperately for an additional cost, how is that better for the environment? They still produce the charger, it's just not being shipped with the phone! Scam of the century in my opinion!

Lets see. I have one for my focus s, one for my wife's old HTC vivid, one for her lumia 820, and one for my nexus 7. Not to mention the few USB cables laying around from older devices or external hard drives. I'd move forward with this even though I was phones would still cone with ear buds like the apple style of ear buds. I hate the new standard in-ear phones. They suck!

I wonder what "cost price" is. I bought a Kindle for a present and they pointed out that it didn't have a wall plug for the USB cable, but I could buy one for $25. I almost choked with laughter at the price as it was 1/4 the price of the Kindle ($99). Suffice to say I decided to get it on eBay for a few bucks, along with a few USB and HDMI cables for a few dollars each. I still laugh when people pay over $10 for digital cables.

Not including chargers seems to make sense but with phones replacing other device's for listening to music especially HTC devices with Beats Audio headphones of some kind most definitely should be included. Come on HTC, your pushing the music experience with your phones, give up something to listen with.

I always hand my old phone to someone else, with the charger, much greener than O2.
I think what O2 is seeing is people buying the charger cheaper at the local street market than the price they are charging.