AT LAST the eternal battle between people and laptop batteries could be on the verge of resolution.
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has published a standard that it would like to see adopted.
The move follows the decision by mobile phone manufacturers to adopt the microUSB standard that was later ratified as EU policy. Apple remains the only non-participant in this standard and the IEC is expected to enforce it in the near future.
The new standard for laptops would enable users of different laptop models and even different manufacturers' machines to share power cables without the risk of frying their prized machines.
Offices could provide power supplies at hotdesk terminals to save commuters from bringing their own, and public charging stations could become a practical reality.
The snappily titled, IEC/TS 62700 Ed. 1.0 DC Power Supply for Portable Personal Computer, as the standard is known, is expected to result in a significant drop in the amounts of e-waste generated as the number of redundant laptop chargers is reduced.
IEC general secretary Frans Vreeswijk welcomed the move as a step towards reducing such 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. 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," he said.
Although the standardisation process will apply only in Europe, any such decision will likely have worldwide ramifications, as computer makers will find it more efficient to have a single charger type for manufacturing purposes. µ