Windows Phone 8 to feature standardized USB port location for universal accessories?

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We filing this one under a big ol’ rumor has we have no secondary source to corroborate the information, but there is some preliminary evidence to suggest there may be some truth to it.

We were just tipped off about a new requirement for Windows Phone 8 devices regarding the micro USB port and its placement on the device.

So far, much to the consternation of consumers and 3rd party accessory makers, it has been difficult to make charging stands, car mounts, etc. for Windows Phone due to the haphazard placement of the micro USB port. Some like HTC prefer the side, others like Nokia have it on top and some like Samsung have it on the bottom.

Evidently, starting with new Windows Phone 8 hardware, OEMs will be required to put the micro USB port at the bottom-center. We have yet to see the WP8 chassis requirements that presumably have been updated but there’s a good chance that this indeed has been added.

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The "universal mount" for the iPhone has been a cash cow

To add some meat to the rumor, when you look at the Samsung ATIV S, indeed you see the charging port dead-center on the bottom. But then again, Samsung had it there too for the Focus S and their other devices. But those leaked images of the Nokia “820” from this morning tell a different story—that device also has the charging port dead center on the bottom. From our tipster:

“Miss not having all the accessories that iPhone users enjoy like speaker docks etc?. Fear not as all Windows Phone 8 devices will have a standardized location of the charging port which allows third party accessory manufacturers a brand new market to tap into, thereby increasing WP8's appeal for not only the manufacturers but also consumers as well. This is something that drives a lot of users to iPhones and Microsoft felt this was something that may have been missing with wp7 but now hopes to remedy that with the new requirement in all WP8 handsets.”

Up until now, all Nokia Lumia phone have had their charger on the top but now, oddly enough they have moved it south. Coincidence or is this evidence for this new requirement?

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The alleged HTC Accord with micro USB bottom-center

At this point, we’re leaning towards believing this is accurate. For one, it makes total sense that Microsoft would require this to make accessories more universal—it helps 3rd party companies sell more product, gives them incentive to “design once, sell everywhere” and consumers also win out by having a much larger selection of wares for their phone, which so far have been anemic, to say the least.

Make no mistake, third-party accessories for the iPhone are a huge business and it helps drive that whole ecosystem--why would Microsoft not want to address that with Windows Phone 8?

Surely we’ll find out more next Wednesday but for now, keep this one rumor at the top of your list.

Thanks, Dazza, for the heads up

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.