Are Those Mobile Chargers Included With Phones Really Needed? Survey Says 'No'

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News Posted: Fri, Jan 18 2013 10:22 PM
You know those cute little white cubes that ship with pretty much every iPod touch, iPhone and iPad? Those are charging blocks, with a simply USB slot in there that's used for charging just about any portable device on the planet. And for years now, something similar has been shipping with -- you guessed it -- pretty much every portable device on the planet. Over time, most gadget hounds have amassed quite the collection of these charging cubes, and considering that many of those very hounds also use the USB sockets on their laptops as chargers -- well, you have to wonder how many of those cubes are going unused on a daily basis.

Turns out, network operator O2 and handset maker HTC did indeed wonder, and now they're reporting on the results. Over the past few months, HTC has sold the One X+ in O2 markets without a power adapter. Folks who received a Kindle Fire over Christmas may have noticed that Amazon is also leaving that out of the box, both to save on costs and shave the price of devices down to the end user. And then, of course, there's the green aspect, as each phone sold without a charging block dings the environment that much less. Since the “Charger out of the Box” pilot was launched in October, 82% of those who bought the charger-free handset did not buy a separate charger for it – exceeding O2’s target of 70%. The pilot, the first of its kind in the world, offers the HTC One X+ handset with just the USB-to-micro-USB connection lead with the phone (although if customers do want a charger with their new handset, they are able to purchase one at cost price).


There are 30 million new phones sold in the UK each year. 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, not to mention the savings on cost.

Research by O2 suggests there are as many as 100 million unused chargers in total in the UK that are either duplicates of existing kit or are from old handsets.  These have already had a huge environmental cost:
  •     A total of 18,700 tonnes of components (the same weight as 1,000 London buses)
  •     124,274 miles of copper wire and plastic covering (enough to wrap the O2 Arena 200,000 times)
  •     A volume of landfill equivalent to four Olympic swimming pools if all were thrown away
So, what about you? Do you have a bunch of those charges sitting around idle?
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sevags replied on Sat, Jan 19 2013 3:51 AM

I don't ever consider my chargers "idle" I like to place chargers throughout my home anywhere that I or anyone else in my family and friends that come over will want to sit and also charge there phone... When we ALL had iphone 4/4s every room in the house had two 30pin chargers ready to go. I hate going from room to room changed the position of the charger and then going to sleep forgetting to bring it back or bring my charger to whervever we are for a friend to use.

Now?... I have an iphon5.... with only 1 lightening to usb cable with no descire to purchase more at the current price or buy the 30-pin to lightening adapter at all. we now have 12 usb wall chargers and 2 lightening cables, my moms and mine. I am back to my own private hell I described above.

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I have about 7 of them only and they are all in use. One is in my carry bag, two by the bed for mine and the rest are spread throughout the house.

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acarzt replied on Sat, Jan 19 2013 8:56 AM

Over time people will start losing them, or they will become defiective and people will start needing new ones again and suddenly the 82% who didn't buy one will be come 50% or even worse.

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Well maybe HTC can start including headphones again? At least in Canada they dont. I have two or three chargers, I dont need more. The new one that came with my last phone is still in the phone box. Maybe I will need it one day, but I am doubtful. As long as the USB cable keep being included, I am OK with not getting the charger. Hell, in the case of the lightning cable, Apple should have included two or three cables.

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realneil replied on Sat, Jan 19 2013 10:51 PM

I use the ones that I have. I charge my iPad, Phone, and Kindle in my room while I sleep.

They're cheap on EBay if you break yours.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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make them an option ala cart sounds good to me. I would expect to see a price break but after a while it will be lost and the price on replacement chargers will go sky high.

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Needless to say... I would think, but maybe not. If one company that for some reason still has quite a bit of the market would loose the proprietary archaic charging connections this wouldn't be an issue (Apple). And even more so there is this magical wireless charging technology used by a truly innovative company (Palm) that rids the world of wired charging. The best way to protest Apple is quit buying their over-priced, proprietary, re-hashed crap!

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digitaldd replied on Mon, Jan 21 2013 8:43 AM

Not all of these charging plugs are made the same. Some interesting reading for you

http://www.arcfn.com/2012/10/a-dozen-usb-chargers-in-lab-apple-is.html

I have a 2amp one of these that was made for a Kodak digital camera (which I bought from someone who lost the camera) which charges very fast at least I notice how much faster it charges than other chargers.

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i like and use the included charger on all of my mobile devices. i usually pick up and extra one for work. I guess, for those that don't care or need one, you can include a model that does not come with one.

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