Major laptop manufacturers in Taiwan are supporting the creation of a common power supply standard.
Taiwanese notebook manufacturers account for about 75% of world supply, so when Taiwan industry watch site Digitimes reports that the island's major manufacturers support a common notebook power standard we can be reasonably sure that the days are numbered for the myriad of weird and wonderful plugs and voltages.
Taiwanese brands Acer and Asus are said to have indicated their support but equally as significant are the raft of lesser-known manufacturers of original equipment such as Quanta, Compal, Wistron, Pegatron and Inventec which are also in agreement with a common PSU standard. Between them these manufacturer's produce the bulk of the world's notebook computers sold under other brands.
Before we break out the party hats just yet, Digitimes sounded a note of caution that the process was still in an early stage. The IEEE, for its part, is said to be driving the initiative as a strategy for reducing waste as power supplies will be reusable between devices.
One Digitimes source pointed out that power supply manufacturers are the potential loser in the equation, reducing the amount of custom work that needs to be done for each model. The assertion is that savings in standardisation could then translate to smarter, more efficient power supplies.
It will be interesting to see how the IEEE group handles the issue of power capacity with one of the defining features of custom power supplies being that they are frequently designed with only enough capacity for the device which it is intended. Clearly a netbook PSU is not going to power a 19-inch gaming monster.
Assuming issues like this can be addressed clearly, consumers are likely to welcome the banishment of another category of annoyingly diverse custom power supplies just as they they benefited from the trend of mobile phones moving to USB as a common power supply standard.