Universal Charger For Notebooks Finally Coming

Written by Wire Service     17/12/2013 | 07:35 | Category: NOTEBOOKS & TABLETS

We have new Ultrabooks, tablets and a host of new smartphones but when it comes to power supply for notebooks we are still in the dark ages, that is up until now.

Universal Charger For Notebooks Finally Coming
Now a new technical specification has been published for a charger that will work with a wide range of notebook computers from different manufacturers. While there has been progress in the smartphone market with the introduction of a MicroUSB charger that can be used to power up handsets from multiple manufacturers we have had no progress in the notebook market with some chargers dating back 10 years or more. 

Now the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is trying to introduce a similar 'universal charger' for notebooks that is significantly lighter than current offerings. 

Research shows that power supplies for notebooks weigh typically around 300 but sometimes up to 600 grams, are generally not usable from one computer to the next. Sometimes they get lost or break, leading to the discarding of computers that may still work perfectly well.

The total e-waste related to all kinds of chargers of ICT devices is estimated to exceed half a million tons each year, according to the IEC - the equivalent of 500,000 cars.

The new IEC Technical Specification will allow consumers to use a single external charger with a wide range of notebook computers. This will make it much easier for external chargers to be reused or replaced when needed, thereby helping to reduce e-waste.

"The IEC International Standards for the universal charger for mobile phones has been widely adopted by the mobile phone industry and is already starting to help reduce e-waste," said EC general secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk.

"A single power supply covering a wide range of notebook computers is the next step in lowering e-waste and its impact on our planet."

Earlier this year it was reported that Apple could be forced to scrap its 'Lightning' connector in Europe, after an EU Parliament Committee voted to standardise power connectors so that everyone who buys a smartphone gets the same type of charger.

The proposal passed with a unanimous vote. However, it has not yet been passed as a law, and may not ever become law, as it was a vote carried by a single group of MEPs.

Apple's Lightning connector is said to offer 'faster file transfers' when plugged into a laptop, for example, and can be inserted either way up, unlike the MicroUSB.