Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Upgrades Technology

Why Don't PDAs and Cellphones Use USB? 145

Posted by Cliff
from the speculate-away dept.
evolutionaryLawyer asks: "I have a RazrV3 phone and the charging interface is USB. This means if my cell phone is dying I get to pull a USB cable out of my bag, plug it into my laptop and charge it wherever I am, and at the same time data transfer is possible. This got me to thinking, why do all these cellphones, PDAs, and other devices use funky data and power interfaces when USB 2.0 is capable of providing both data and power in a universal format? I cannot think it is to sell cables, because I am sure they lose a lot of that to 3rd parties, not to mention that it has to be more expensive to design and manufacture these proprietary formats. Look at the PSP, it has both a power port, and a USB 2.0 port. Why shouldn't they cut out one?" While such a question is better asked of the cell phone manufacturers, it is unlikely that the average consumer would be able to get a straight answer. Can you think of plausible reasons as to why companies might be bypassing usable standards for their own proprietary cables, especially given the fact that there are third-party cables out there for just about every make and model of PDA or cellphone?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Don't PDAs and Cellphones Use USB?

Comments Filter:
  • by imadoofus (233751)
    I would think it's because there are power outlets in just about every building, but not USB ports.
    • Exactly. I shouldn't need a computer (or some sort of power outlet to USB converter) to charge my PDA, RIM device, Cell phone, portable gaming device, etc. It would be nice to have both, but lets face it, on something like a cellphone, its not like I want a bunch of different connectors which will just make the thing larger.
      • by SoCalChris (573049) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:35PM (#12169962) Journal
        On the contrary, you could use 1 outlet -> USB converter for all of your devices, instead of having a bulky power adapter for each of them.

        And who says that you need to have both adapters?
        • What about devices that use different voltages? Not all cell phones require the same power configuration and unless it's a switching adapter (usually larger in size than most), it won't do you much good.
          • by spectral (158121) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:36PM (#12171565)
            usb provides the power specification, the cell phone would conform to the USB spec instead of the other way around.

            That being said, the RazrV3 has the OPTION of charging off of USB. If the phone is dead it WILL NOT. This is because USB needs a signal negotiation before it will deliver the higher power available on USB 2.0. If the phone is dead, such negotiation is impossible. This is part of the reason that it's not done on more models.

            Strangely, my Razr didn't come with a USB cable. It came with a regular wall plug. I don't need the USB (all my computers have bluetooth), but I was kind of surprised by this.
    • by Vaevictis666 (680137) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:20PM (#12169797)
      On the other hand, it can't be that hard (and possibly would be another income source) selling little boxes that plug into the wall and provide 1 or 2 USB ports just for power transfer...
    • The separate power plug requires a wall wart. They could instead use a different wall wart which ended in a USB plug with power pins only, I bet. Then one wall wart would work with any device, you wouldn't have to worry about plugging the cell phone into the PDA's wall wart and fry the innards.

      But USB power is limited. It might be too limited for recharging a cell phone.
    • For the record, the Rio Carbon Uses a USB cable that plugs into a small converter which plugs into an outlet, which means only one hole for charging/data transfer.
    • then why not do it like Apple? My ipod charges/connects via usb or firewire, and it came with a nifty wall-wart adapter that the firewire plugs into if a port isn't available. It's the perfect design, IMHO.
  • they dont like their 'connectors' to be like anyone elses...
  • To make money. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keeleysam (792221) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:20PM (#12169794) Homepage Journal
    By not putting standard interfaces on, people are forced to pay for ringtones, where if they had USB, they could just drag a MIDI right to the phone.
    • My phone doesn't force me to pay for ringtones. They just don't document how to create the ringtone file format, and so far no one's made a very easy tool to import third party ringtones (except really crummy ones). Mine has a standard irda interface though, and last I looked bluetooth was pretty damn standard.

      Just because it has USB doesn't mean it has to be be treated as a removable drive, or if it is, that it has to accept everything you drag onto it.
      • My phone ( Motorola V551) supports mp3, and has bluetooth. I just edit any mp3 ( due to storage limits on the phone), ad drag it into the Music folder of my phone. Pretty simple. Same with pictures and videos.
    • As long as the phone isn't DRM protected, then there may be a market here for USB adaptor cables for your cell phone...
      • My LG4600 has a cable available (~50$) that allows you to use mp3s/images to your hearts content. BitPim rules. It is a bit techy tho, certainly nothing easy.

        I had an older phone whos manual told you how to create ringtons on the phone (mono of course) but it was disabled on the phone!

        Phone Companies are very big fans of locking the consumer out of what should be the coolest features on the phones.
    • By not putting standard interfaces on, people are forced to pay for ringtones, where if they had USB, they could just drag a MIDI right to the phone.

      Word. Similarly, customers have to pay to transfer pictures off of their camera phones, which, combined with forcing of camera phones down customers throats makes for a nice profit source!

      It seems like a nice solution would be the one Apple used for iPods---Firewire cable and a power brick that the Firewire cable can plug into in the absence of a PC---bu

    • Re:To make money. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mike1024 (184871) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @07:40PM (#12171113)
      By not putting standard interfaces on, people are forced to pay for ringtones, where if they had USB, they could just drag a MIDI right to the phone.

      I've seen about four posts saying this in this thread - and I'm browsing at +5.

      Don't you guys have IrDA?

      I'm in the UK, and pretty much every GSM phone I've come across in recent years has an IrDA port to connect to your laptop.

      You can then go to the manufacturer's website and get a 'handset manager' program (aimed, I gather, at companies who want to give thier employees identical phonebooks and suchlike). You can then use the IR link to download and upload images, ringtones, operator logos (back when they existed), text messages, and phone books.

      Does the US not have this?

      Michael
      • Re:To make money. (Score:2, Informative)

        by nxtw (866177)
        Don't you guys have IrDA?

        A few phones, but they're mostly (if not all) GSM phones, which constitute (my guess) a little less than half of the US market. They tend to be higher-end models and smartphones (although my cheap T300 had IR.) Bluetooth is more common.

        You can then use the IR link to download and upload images, ringtones, operator logos (back when they existed), text messages, and phone books.

        At least on my Sony Ericsson, you didn't need any special software to transfer files or individual ph

      • Nokia have phased out IrDA on their phones
        The 6600 was the last model to have it.
        It's Bluetooth all the way, sadly.

      • Sadly most US companies are really really bad at lettting users do stuff like that... Verizon for instance cripples Bluetooth support so you can't transfer files to the phone like that, not that they have many phones with bluetooth anyways...

        I can't think of any non-PDA/cellphones that include a IrDA port, so that's out as well... USB data cables are an option and fairly popular, but even that gets crippled on alot fo models...

        I shoudl also mention GSM is less than 40% of the cellular network in the US an
      • I mean it..

        Best Buy
        Circuit City
        Radio Shack..

        none of them stock IRDA adapters of any flavor.

        PDA's with IR sure-- nothing for the IRDA port on your PC...

        No- IRDA is not common enough in the USA
      • I've actually got IrDA on my Nokia 6225, but haven't tried it...

        Actually, I think I'll grab the software - I'm at my college, where they've got laptops in the library with IrDA ports...
  • Most phones also also have an rs-232 serial connection and some of the other pins are used for the initial programming (data lines to the eeprom?). If the phone just needed power and usb, I would agree that the proprietary connector should be avoided.
    • This brings up another question.

      Why do so many new devices still use RS-232 (or a varient) instead of using USB? Does USB require too much processing power verses a RS-232 connection?

      In particular, we see many 'legacy free' desktop computers coming out now which only have USB connections. However, many embedded computing devices still have a serial port and no USB. It seems that a single tiny USB port would be more space efficient and versatile then a serial port.
      • Why do so many new devices still use RS-232 (or a varient) instead of using USB?

        Because they have to talk to legacy equipment (e.g. GPS devices)?

        Because USB is a master/slave arrangement, and you'd either have to provide both capabilities in the device, or settle for not being able to talk to USB peripherals?

      • Because USB is a can of worms. The difference between a serial connection and a USB connection is akin to the difference between a hardware modem and a software emulated one. Software is more flexible and it is easier to fix problems latter, but you'll always have more problems with software (and the other componenets it relies on to operate) than with a simple all hardware solution.

        USB depends on a software controller in order to operate where serial does not and people have near constant problems with US
      • Most microcontrollers have ttl level rs-232 serial hardware built right on the chip. I'm yet to see any cheap ones with USB suport built in, so thats another chip to convert from USB to ttl rs-232.

        RS-232 is a horrible protocol and hardware design. Its way too slow and distance is really limited where its not a differential system like RS-485, RS-422, ethernet and USB. But yet its still everywhere.

        I like USB, personally I think everything outside the tower should be USB, even the montior(USB 2.0 is too sl
  • $$$ of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TsEA (109514)
    Ever seen what they charge for their sync cable? Surely they'll miss their 30$ and 40$ if you can get a plain old usb cable for 1$....
    • Won't stop them charging insane amounts though... for example I bought a second hand Nokia N-gage which was missing the USB cable. Asked someone in Carphone warehouse how much they were, they typed it in on their computer at the desk (didn't have any on display) and it came up £29.99 (That's about $60!!), for a damn usb-device port to normal USB type A. Came home, looked on the net and found one for £1. I pity anyone who bought the £29.99 official one.
  • Camera Phones. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keeleysam (792221) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:22PM (#12169825) Homepage Journal
    People just LOVE camera phones these days, and by not putting standard connectors on, consumers are forced to pay outrageous prices for data servece, where if they had a USB cable, they could just mount it as a drive and drag the JPEGs right off the phone.


    Companies goals are to make money, not please the customer.

    • Re:Camera Phones. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ArsonSmith (13997) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:28PM (#12169871) Journal
      Pleaseing customers is part of making money. Of course most mega corps try to balance it to the point of least amount of customer pleasing possible without losing money. While good compines try to please customers more while they may or may not make maximum amounts of money.

      • Pleaseing customers is part of making money.

        You would think so, wouldn't you?
        The most succesful companies train their customers to accept whatever business model is most profitable to that company. Success for these guys is making the customer want what they have, rather than making what the customer wants.
        • I don't buy it. While I'd say there is a small amount of influence pushed by the corps. I really doubt it would even add up to 10% of the demand for most products. Some things that are specificly style related such as clothes I could belive far more than 10% but for most consumables I don't think it ammounts to much.
    • Sure?

      I ask because almost all camera phones have bluetooth and a USB dongle costs $5...

      I don't have thorough sales data for mobile accessories, so all of this is conjecture of course.

      Companies goals are to make money, not please the customer.

      Thank you for your insight, but the argument is a bit circular, no? Perhaps to say "Companies goal is to satisfy the consumer just enough to profit maximise", or "companies goal is to make people money: employees, capital providers (shareholders) and give
    • People just LOVE camera phones these days, and by not putting standard connectors on, consumers are forced to pay outrageous prices for data servece, where if they had a USB cable, they could just mount it as a drive and drag the JPEGs right off the phone. Companies goals are to make money, not please the customer.

      The problem with your analysis is that the people who make the phones are not the people who are charging the data fees.

      There are a lot of phones out there which can interface with a comput

      • The problem with your rebuttal is that you assume that since they are separate entities, at least as far as the names and accounting departments go, service providers have absolutely no way to influence handset manufacturers. That is extremely naive.
        I would go so far as to say that this is also uninformed. We recently saw a post here on Slashdot about a phone that Apple had developed which was shot down by the major service providers precisely because it would eat into the profits that they had pr
    • I have bluetooth on my v551, I can do just this. I drag pictures off, and mp3 on.
  • USB adds complexity (Score:5, Informative)

    by Drakino (10965) <{ten.ofniinim} {ta} {todhsals_d}> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:25PM (#12169847) Journal
    Basic and simple answer, USB adds complexity. If the phone had only a USB plug, it would have to be a USB host to be able to allow things like corded headsets and such to attach. Then the headsets would have to be more complex, going from somethign that just passes analog data over the right pins on the connector to a full digital headset.

    Power wise, USB really can't do more then 500mA of power at 5V. This is fine for cell phones like my T610 that get 450mA from the official charger at 4.7V. But for devices like the PSP, it would mean 4 times as long to charge, as the PSP power adaptor pushes out 2A or power at 5V.
    • by klossner (733867) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @06:30PM (#12170486)
      If the phone had only a USB plug, it would have to be a USB host to be able to allow things like corded headsets and such to attach.

      If the phone were a USB host, it would have to supply 500 mA of power through that connector.

      • by nxtw (866177)
        If the phone were a USB host, it would have to supply 500 mA of power through that connector.

        It wouldn't *have* to. Not all USB ports provide 500 mA at all times.

        • Hell even the hub on my (once) top of the line 19" sony trinitron, which is plugged into the damned wall, doesn't put out enough power to run 4 high-demand devices... I have to put one of the heavy drawing gadgets on the pc, and leave the light ones like mouse/tablet/thumb drive on the monitor
    • by Trepalium (109107)
      Except USB is 500mA per port before any hubs. Unpowered USB hubs, for instance, can leave you with a lot less power to go around. Then there's the fact that if I'm running my laptop off batteries, I may not want to deplete the laptop's batteries charging the USB device just because I plugged it in. I may have it hooked up for other reasons, and charging a battery with another battery rarely makes much sense.
    • by nxtw (866177)
      If the phone had only a USB plug, it would have to be a USB host to be able to allow things like corded headsets and such to attach.

      The standard 2.5 mm plug has been working fine for many manufacturers for years, while some still opt for propietary connectors. A USB host for headsets would be nice if the devices used the common USB headset profiles, but there's always the (much cooler) Bluetooth headsets.

  • Cellphone companies make a huge profit on the accessories. Even when there are thrid-party cables, most consumers will simply buy the original manufacturer's cables when the phone is purchased.
    • And, btw, in quite a few cases it is THE right thing to do as well -- I've had some experience with various third party "compatible" phones for my Nokia 6230 -- while these might work ok on a PC, my PowerBook won't even see a device attached (while with a stock Nokia DKU-2 it is not a problem).

      Cables have become somewhat cheaper these days -- I remember 3-4 years ago Nokia DataSuite + a cable to connect your phone to a PC would set you back almost half of what the phone costs. Not so anymore -- DS is a fr
  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:29PM (#12169899)
    It's 500mW max iirc, which is enough to keep most portable devices running, but would make charging really slow.

    If they were to go to a standard connection Firewire might be nice at 12-60Wats.

    But in the mean time, they'll generally use custom connectors for charging.
  • USB power limits (Score:2, Redundant)

    by twoflower (24166)
    USB is limited to 2.5W of power. If a device needs more power than that, you can't run it from USB power.
    • I really don't understand the context of the question. My Palm Zire 21 both runs and charges off of USB. Of course, it charges faster if the AC adapter is plugged in...
      • I really don't understand the context of the question. My Palm Zire 21 both runs and charges off of USB. Of course, it charges faster if the AC adapter is plugged in...

        What the TFA was talking about is that there are many (small) proprietary connectors on phones and some PDAs that require a special cable to link up to USB or a charger.

        I assume that a lot of these are designed with space in mind (the chassis is rather small on a cell or PDA). They don't want to put one charging connector, one programming
  • Most of the connectors on PDAs and cell phones handle a lot more than just power and an interface for a computer. More often than not, on cell phones the connector supports a variety of handsfree devices (case in point: my motorola v60i). Most PDAs also have some sort of proprietary expansion port to connect peripherals, because standard interfaces between types of devices simply do not exist, as it would pose a nightmare for developers. Imagine trying to create firmware for a device that's supposed to wo
  • 500mA per device (Score:4, Informative)

    by smeg (73312) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:38PM (#12169996)
    From http://www.usb.org/developers/usbfaq/#pow1
    ----
    1. How much power does a system in S3 need to supply to USB?

    A: 500mA per USB port. See section 7.2.3 for the details of device behavior during suspend and resume.
    ----
    Presumably this has something to do with it. HTH. HAND.
    • Don't forget that the 500mA is shared between ALL of the devices connected to the port. So if you plug into an unpowered USB hub sharing with a few other peripherals, the 500mA goes down from there
  • It's because the cell phone service providers don't want you to have the ability to easily transfer data on and off your cell phone. Some phones have USB cable adapters, and then you either have limited ability of data transfer, or need to somehow hack the handset. This is because the cell phone service companies want to charge you for everything possible.

    Camera phone? Take all the photos you like, but it's X cents per photo to get them of your phone. Address book backup? Sure, it's only X dollars a month for automatic backups! Want games on your Java enabled phone? Sure, we have a selection here for $4.99 per game per month (sorry, you can only select from this menu). Want some GREW games? We have those too (sorry, you can't code your own, BREW is proprietary).

    Handset manufacturers would love to put these features in for users, but they don't because then the cell phone companies won't sell the phones and wont support them if purchesed through other channels.

  • by jkerman (74317) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:45PM (#12170077)
    I also have a V3, and its USB power can only be used to "top off" an already existing charge. if you ever get the phone to a dead state, a USB port is useless. The usb charging doesnt begin until the software in the phone requests power from the port.

    another problem, is that to charge a dead phone you need a motorola(TM) razr(TM) usb charger, which arent very redily available yet.

    another problem is that a USB port cant provide enough juice to both charge the phone, and make a call. if you talk on USB power, your phone will eventually go into a totally dead state (see above for how fun that is).

    yet another problem, is that file transfer over USB isnt possible (it might be with additional software). I can exchange ringtones and pictures only via bluetooth, and can sync a phone book only with USB. totally wierd.
  • For their customers (Score:2, Informative)

    by nelsonal (549144)
    Cell phone companies sell the phones to cellular carriers, who resell them at a loss (at best breakeven on a cheap phone). Perhaps at the beginning of life on an exclusive hot phone the carrier might make some money, but most phones are sold at less than the company paid for it. Accessories (and contract replacement phones are sold at a huge markup (>50% or more) to offset some of the initial loss on the phone. If the end user can buy cheap accessories for their new phone from a third party, the cellu
  • Assured Power Supply (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rueger (210566) * on Thursday April 07, 2005 @05:52PM (#12170173) Homepage
    Probably the biggest reason why cel phone makers etc use their own cables, at least the wall wart for charging, is to ensure that the power coming into the phone is exactly right.

    By supplying a proprietary charger they can know that you won't accidentally damage the phone.

    I've never checked, but I'd wager that the power on a USB port can have a lot of variation, especially if you're using a cheapo $6.99 USB hub from Big Lots [biglots.com].
  • Why sell one power cable for the lifetime of the user, when you could sell one power cable for every cell phone they buy! They also make profit on accessories such as car adapters. If you never had to buy another car adapter again then they would be out a few bucks times millions of users = big money loss.
  • by comwiz56 (447651)
    Apple did a good job of this with the iPod. There is no power cord for it, just a firewire AC adapter and a firewire cable.
  • Not enough power (Score:2, Redundant)

    by John Meacham (1112)
    A whole usb port can only source about 500mA across all connected devices at 5V. This is not a whole lot of power, it would take forever to completely charge a li-ion battery off of that and require some interesting circuitry. It is enough to top-off a battery, or charge smaller ones. but cell-phones use a lot of power. as power consumption on phones goes down, we might see full charging from USB more often. But it will take some engineering to do right.
  • by invisik (227250) * on Thursday April 07, 2005 @06:29PM (#12170470) Homepage
    Hey,

    Not even a cradle on the 7100 series. Uses a regular USB cable (rectangular plug to the micro plug). Same cable I use to connect to my Sony digital camera. It syncs and charges over it. Even the wall charger is a USB cable with a transformer on the end. It is quite nice to charge off the computer this way.

    I do wish it had a cradle, as the plugging and unplugging is a little annoying (the plug is on the left side of the unit). Great for portability though.

    -m
  • More complicated (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tiersten (58773) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @06:36PM (#12170542)
    It's more complicated to use USB power as you're supposed to tell the hub how much power you're going to draw before suddenly trying to suck down anything.

    The current USB charger cables out there are just a bit of wire with a USB plug on one end and whatever plug you need at the other end. It assumes that the laptop/computer will always supply power and be capable of supplying everything it needs. If you plug in your T68i on a bus powered hub then you'll get some interesting problems.
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oyler@c[ ]ast.net ['omc' in gap]> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @06:48PM (#12170669) Journal
    Could it be because a female USB port is to plug devices into, and that any device plugged into such can demand up to 500ma of power from the device with the port?

    Sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, you'd have Cletus trying to plug his USB 2.0 camcorder into the cell phone, and ruining either or both of the devices.

    Plugging a cell phone into a USB port is ok, plugging *almost anything else* into a cell phone's USB port is a recipe for disaster.
  • by mugnyte (203225)
    There was a time when USB didn't exist. There will be a time when 2.x is supplanted by 3.x, etc.
    Line strength, ee considerations, connector size/design are sloving evolving, but they do evolve. By having a multitude of designs, each device can solve the problem as they best see fit. Adherance to a connectivity standard is but one design issue. I like USB 2.0, but when 3.0 comes out, I sure don't want my device to wait for a "market shift" before I can get one. I want them to compete ruthlessly for ever
  • by NevarMore (248971) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @06:56PM (#12170746) Homepage Journal
    Excepting cellphones, most devices I see use a readily available round power connector. The transformer is clearly marked with the polarity and electricial info. One can just measure the size and hit up any electronics supplier and find a matching connector.

    I can also see it as protection, if you can physically connect up a USB-power only cable to something that isnt expecting power on its USB port then someone will do so and destroy it.
  • Who would have thought that cables would be the printer ink of the cell phone industry?
  • by ArmorFiend (151674) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:12PM (#12171395) Homepage Journal
    Why not use USB? Because fucktards designed the USB jack to be rectangular, and you have to look up its ass everytime to figure out which side that little plastic spacer is on. That's crappy and prone to breakage.

    (sweetly:) Next question please?

  • I have a cable for my Treo 650 that will allow it to charge via USB. This is both a cell phone and a PDA. This is also, by no means, the only cell phone or PDA that can be changed via USB. You just need to get the right cable.

    I would not want to wait to charge my Treo via USB, though. It takes forever! I forget what wattage the USB port is limited to, but it's far less than the real charger for my Treo.
    • I wouldn't use it on a day-to-day basis, but when I travel, it's all I need. I get about 2 days worth of usage on my Treo 600, so plugging it into a USB port at the end of the day means that I wake up in the morning with a fully charged phone as well as a fully charged laptop.

      It's also good to top off the phone if you forget to charge it, which I've been known to do every so often. Sure, it's not ideal, and if you've got a dead phone, it's the crappiest charging solution you can come up with, but most of
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:55PM (#12172092)
    I'm seeing this stuff about USB supplying power all too often, and it's gotten me to thinking...

    There are problems with USB 2 when it comes to power. What do you get, 5v, 500ma? Not enough to do much with. True, there are devices as large as flatbed scanners that can run entirely off this power, but it's not much.

    If you try to come up with USB 3, however, and specify that it should supply more power, the problem will be that maybe the computer can't supply that much due to its power supply and requirements, etc. Which brings me to the next point: USB 3 should have some sort of specification that says a computer can decide how much power to supply through USB, based on factors like its own power usage. Then, when you plug in a device, it would automatically figure out if it has enough power or not, and perhaps a message could pop up on the computer, telling you that you're trying to overload the USB power supply.

    Of course, then you'd have to take into consideration the gauge and insulation of the USB wire itself, and you'll end up with the need to put a tiny chip into compatible wires which would tell the computer what the max current carrying capacity of that cable is rated at. This all sounds quite complicated, but there's no reason why a computer can't push more power out of a USB port if all these things are taken into consideration, and all the proper power handshaking takes place from the USB port down the chain (if there are hubs, etc. in the way) all the way to individual devices. Also, you're probably not using all devices in max-power-usage mode at the same time, so the devices might talk to each other and enter power-save mode when necessary to allow other devices to be used.

    This seems, again, like a very complicated solution looking for a problem, but it shouldn't be too difficult to do for next-generation USB devices, and the advantages are pretty big: Right here on my desk, I have a 6-outlet strip that isn't enough. Currently plugged in are my laptop, Mac Mini, 17" display, ethernet hub, and printer; These are just the computer peripherals. I also have, in the same area, a phone charger, small television, desk lamp, and DVD player. I need a USB hub for the Mac Mini because there simply aren't enough ports on it for all the crap I'd like to have plugged in at one time; therefore, I have so far refrained from buying a USB hub. There are not enough outlets on this wall to handle all of this. If I add another strip, I'll probably blow a fuse if all of this is on at the same time. A new USB protocol which takes into consideration a whole range of power options, negotiated in real-time by the devices themselves as they are plugged in, used, and removed, and taking into consideration the power-supplying capability of the computer, the capacity of the wires themselves, and the usage of the devices, really offers an opportunity to remove many plugs from many devices that would otherwise need them, and to greatly reduce the number of wires running across and under many desks; This would require more careful engineering by already-overworked electronics engineers who are concerned about power consumption, but I believe that with added innovation, increased customer demand for this kind of service, and the advances made each day in semiconductors, this will provide so much value for the consumer that it's worth it.

    • If you try to come up with USB 3, however, and specify that it should supply more power, the problem will be that maybe the computer can't supply that much due to its power supply and requirements, etc. Which brings me to the next point: USB 3 should have some sort of specification that says a computer can decide how much power to supply through USB, based on factors like its own power usage. Then, when you plug in a device, it would automatically figure out if it has enough power or not, and perhaps a mess

  • Almost every recently made cell phone has a USB charging cable available.

    An even higher portion of modern PDAs do.

    Both the palmOne Treo 600 and 650 smartphones have USB charging cables available for reasonable prices. I'm not quite sure why they don't come with one by default, the "standard" sync cable is kind of crappy.

    As to not using standard USB connectors on the phone - They're the wrong form factor. USB connectors are WAY too large, especially considering that numerous other connections (audio I/O
  • Buy a smart phone (Score:2, Informative)

    by user555 (145309)
    I wanted to be able to transfer data off of my cell phone. I also wanted to be able to add my own ring tones.

    I found a phone that let me do this. I got the MPX220 smart phone. This phone connects through USB both for charging and data tranfer. I just plug in and drag an mp3 or midi to the phone and I have a new ring tone. My phone also plays music. I have minor complaints about some of the software but overall I'm very happy with this phone.

    Stop whinning about your phone. Get a better one. Phone
  • Just buy a blackberry. Leave the toy phones for the kiddies.
  • by pnglvr (872224) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:51AM (#12174052)
    The restrictions on phones over in the US is ridiculous. I got an NEC e616 flipphone in February with all the goodies (dual video cameras, mp3, video calls, 3G network @ 384Kbps) for just under $200 Aust with 3 Mobile. It includes a USB cable and there are no file restrictions on this phone other than content bought through the 3 services (music videos, etc) cannot be copied or moved. And the calendar automatically synchronises over the 3G internet connection with my PC. American mobile carriers are an absolute joke, simple as that.
  • To make a proper USB port on a cell phone, it must be able to supply 500 mA at 5V through the USB port. This actually exceeds the power usage of the phone itself, and therefore drastically reduces battery life when a power-needing unit is attached. Even though the power usage could not reasonably be attributed to the phone, most people will definately blame the *phone* for "running out of power way too soon".

    I would like one though - imagine putting a printer on the camera phone, or putting a real keyboard
  • by Jethro (14165)
    Every single cellphone and PDA I've ever owned used USB. None of the phones came with a USB cable but the option was out there.

    My current phone has a USB cable option, but it also has bluetooth, so I don't really need USB anymore... but it's there if I do.
    • (replying to myself) And USB would take forever to charge a phone, so it's not really useful to power a device.

In order to dial out, it is necessary to broaden one's dimension.

Working...