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a new mobile, a new wad of accessories to dispose of

July 6, 2010

We welcomed a new mobile phone in to our household and despite the tight competition in the marketplace for today’s latest gadget our household stayed loyal to Samsung. This was our third purchase of a mobile phone from Samsung a technology manufacturer from Korea. We have been happy with our previous phone purchases neither I nor my wife are big users of the phone and I would say mostly our phones have fitted with out telecommunication needs, this is a smart phone but I suspect that the majority of features will be ignored by my wife. If the truth be known they are little more than a momentary novelty for me as well.

There however is one annoyance with this being this our third phone from Samsung we now have our three different chargers, and since I am not changing over my phone it means yet another set of unique accessories, and yes we are retiring one set but I was hoping, that maybe just once that a piece a of new technology from the same manufacturer could at least be able to use the same accessories. But alas this is of course would be too much to ask or would it?  After doing a little bit of research, I discovered  that our new phone has what is to be the new phone charge standard and that it users a USB for charging, it has a micro-USB connector on the phone itself, so ideally from this point onwards any charger should be able to be used with any new phone purchase, and since is a USB adapter the same universality should also be applicable with PC connections although different software no doubt will be required.

I understand that the European Union asked all mobile phone manufactures to agree on a standard form factor for all charges and that ten of the major players representing 90% of the mobile phone market have agreed including Apple and its iPhone. Let’s hope that this initiative not only expands worldwide so that the after market accessories rip off may stop, and that hopefully the annoyance of the need for new accessories for every new phone, of course if this could lead to a reduction in the waste of non renewable resources that would also be a godsend, and it can.

I believe that more needs to be done to improve the wastage that this industry contributes to society and with the need to avoid legislation by governments with other agenda’s. I believe we need meaningful dialog between the industry players and government to hammer out voluntary agreements that lead to a reduction in the duplication of identical items being shipped with every product regardless of the included accessory being actually required by the purchaser. If we were just able to buy only the phone and then decide what accessories we actually require and then buy them. This would reduce the huge wastage that goes on now with duplicated and not required accessories all jammed in the box, our latest phone came with 2 interchangeable backs as well as the usual litany of items, although I did think it was very strange that it came with 2 micro cd’s when 1 normal sized cd might have been more appropriate.

I think if we were some what able to get companies to agree to not bundle any accessories with their phones and to reduce the unit price per handset with a fair percentage of the savings. These companies would still be free to compete in the after marketing of accessories if they felt that this was an attractive market to compete in.

Standardisation would allow more efficient competition in the market place,  the increased efficiency would result in reduced costs of accessories partly compensating any initial increased cost experienced by the consumer  having to  buy previously bundled and supposedly free accessories. It’s funny though for a seemingly valueless item we are very reluctant to part with accessories past. Since we would be free to reuse accessories when we we purchase a new phones this would reduce wastage as we would only replace items as required and not by the phone as is currently the norm. People often talk off the huge amount of old mobile phones that end up in land fill, well this is equally true of the accessories or is it truly nothing more than a consumable. I believe that if commitment to reducing wastage in this area is truly explored and agreed upon that this is a relatively easy to implement scheme that could have immense savings in environmental impact reduction and is something that is a win win scenario for all, consumers and the manufactures alike and it may actually allow for new entrants into the retail space. It would reduce duplication and waste, allow reduction in price of phones allow a consolidation in the after market need for offerings so that we are dealing with variants of a single theme USB cable, charger, head phones.

What do you think? This was just my thoughts on what I think society should be exploring to do to allow technology not to leave as big environmental footprint. Please leave me a comment I would love to hear what you think on this issue.

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