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Power Rangers

There’s a gathering tomorrow in downtown San Francisco that everyone in the industry, and everyone who buys CE products, should be happy about. It’s the second meeting of the nascent Alliance for Universal Power Supplies (AUPS), a group intent on adopting universal standards for the power supplies that charge cellphones and other portable digital devices.

In the words of AUPS, “members seek to enable their products and services to be universally compatible and eco-friendly. AUPS focuses on multiport, reusable and efficient developments that ensure interoperability and encourage innovation and market growth.”

As previously blogged, I have a personal stake in this.

AUPS points out that in the past decade alone, the CE industry has developed and sold billions of devices that require AC to DC power supplies. Because every new CE device comes with a charger, some 3.2 billion power supplies will be designed and shipped in 2008 alone. And because every electronic product has a unique voltage and current requirement, many incompatible power supplies must be designed, produced, packaged, shipped and discarded unnecessarily. By making power supplies universal and reusable through digital collaboration, manufacturers can eliminate costs, consumers enjoy the convenience of powering any product with any power supply, and significant reductions in solid waste can be achieved.


AUPS is comprised of a diverse group of organizations, including CEs manufacturers; ASIC and power supply power firms; energy and waste management companies; various government agencies; equipment and tools manufacturers serving the automotive and aircraft industries; residential and commercial builders; cable and telephone companies; and the hospitality sector.

On hand to deliver the event’s keynote will be Guili He, from the China Academy of Telecommunication Research of the Ministry of Industry and Information. He will describe China’s success in implementing a cellphone charging standard — a move aimed at protecting the environment, saving resources and energy, and reducing costs.

“China is the first country to pass a law requiring a USB interface for cellphone chargers — a significant achievement and a precedent for the consumer electronics industry,” said David Canny, acting chair of AUPS. In 2007, China produced some 500 million cellphones; the country is home to 575 million cellphone subscribers, with 100 million new users added annually. 

Also on hand to speak will be John Katz, pollution prevention coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, discussing issues around the disposal of millions of power supplies; and Daisaku Yukita, of JETRO, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for Japan,, addressing standards efforts in that country.

The conference will take place tomorrow at the PG&E Auditorium in downtown San Francisco beginning at 9:30 a.m. local time

More details on the conference are available here. For more information on AUPS initiatives or membersh