Technology columnist Walt Mossberg had a
article last month about the tangle of proprietary cables, batteries,
and chargers that the average gadget geek has to carry to keep his cell phone, laptop, PDA, and other
electronic doodads charged and working.
Although some gadgets, due to their design needs, require such exclusive items, Mossberg contends,
and I agree, that not everything needs to be that way. There is no
reason why, for the great majority of such devices, they can’t use
standardized cables, chargers, and batteries.
For example, there are a few digital cameras that use standard AA-size batteries. Why don’t the
majority of them, except for maybe the ultra-compacts that
are too slim to hold an AA size battery, use them?
Why are connectors so different? Even within a class of device or within a single
According to Mossberg, the answer seems to be greed. By locking you into a manufacturers silo, you
have to buy everything from them. Once that occurs, said manufacturer
can charge $20 for a cable that costs less than a dollar to make.
Or $50 for a cell phone battery when the phone itself, with a plan,
costs substantially less than that.
It seems to me that as long as customers continue to buy such items, companies will continue to make
them. As for me, to the extent possible, whether it is our cordless
phones or digital cameras, I now make sure they use standard batteries.
If you would like to save a lot of money, perhaps you should too.