HTC One comes without a charger on O2

The HTC One is the first phone in O2's plan to get rid of chargers, arriving with just a cable in the box.

If you buy the HTC One from O2, there'll be no charge. Sorry, I mean no charger. You see, the HTC One is the first phone in O2's plan to get rid of chargers altogether.

The HTC One won't have a charger in the box if you buy it from O2, on the assumption that in this day and age you probably already have one that'll do the job perfectly well. It's all part of O2's Chargers out of the Box environmental initiative, which aims to cut the number of "unnecessary chargers" sold with phones. In fact, O2 wants to cut out chargers completely by 2015.

The One will still come with a USB-to-micro-USB cable -- it just won't have a wall plug. That means you can charge by plugging into any chargers you already have left over from previous phones, ebook readers or other devices; or you can charge it by plugging into your computer.

O2 justifies the plan with the results of a recent trial run, in which 82 per cent of customers buying an HTC phone in the past six months opted not to bother with a charger when given the choice. The oxygenated network reckons there could be as many as 100 million unused chargers out there, which with some truly spectacular mathematical contortions apparently equates to 1,000 London buses, four Olympic swimming pools, or enough copper wire to wrap the O2 arena 200,000 times. Maths is fun!

Ditching chargers is possible because most phones now use the same charger connection: micro-USB. Android phones, Windows Phones, Kindles, digital cameras and many more use the same connection both to charge and to talk to computers, something which has happened in the last few years.

It's pretty remarkable really, and a real victory for standardisation over troublesome proprietary cables.

Obviously, the less said about Apple, the better. Apple can't even standardise connectors across its own products, switching to the new Lightning connector in the most recent generation of iPad, iPad mini and iPhone 5 -- rendering everybody's cables and docks obsolete, unless you shell out for an adaptor.

Speaking of shelling out, a cynic might argue that ditching chargers because you've probably already got one or more is all very well, but it is also an opportunity for phone networks and manufacturers to flog you something you used to get for free. And what if you sold your last phone so you don't have a charger?

Is a charger an essential item when buying a new phone, or do you have chargers coming out of your ears? What other kit should be in the box when you buy a new gadget? Unpack your thoughts in the comments or charge up on our Facebook page.

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