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Apple supporting universal European handset chargers

Last week I ordered my iPhone 3GS from the AT&T Store (no Apple Stores out here in the boonies). Five days later it was ready to be picked up and I drove out to the mall to get it.

While the AT&T employee activated it and performed the soul-stealing voodoo that accompanies a new sale, a woman at the next counter was exchanging her own AT&T phone (not an iPhone). I only heard a part of her conversation, but it went something like this:

"Can I use my old adapter with this one?"

"No, m'am. You'll have to buy a new one."

"What about my car charger?"

"No, that will need to be replaced, too."

"Ugh. OK. I'll just throw them away."

What a nuisance. She's got to spend extra money and those plastic and electronic doodads will occupy the bottom of a landfill until The End Of Days. The problem is even worse in the Europen Union. Fortunately, a group of manufacturers, including Apple, is working to change that. Apple, Nokia and Research in Motion have agreed to support a European Union-backed initiative to standardize these devices across the EU. It's a good idea that would benefit consumers and the environment.

The agreement is limited to smartphones for now, but if all goes well, will be expanded in 2012. Good luck to everyone involved.

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