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Unauthorized Charger

So I got a new phone, because the cover on the old one was falling off, and it was past contract time anyway. It's a motorola, because that seemed like the least-bad combination of size, cost and crippled features from the only carrier who has signal at our house, and it charges through a USB plug.

So of course I thought: "At last, no more of those overpriced proprietary charging plugs that don't work with anything else!" Hardly. Last week we were away, so I brought the cigarette-lighter-to-USB dongle that came with some gps unit or other, and plugged the phone into it. It buzzed a few times, and then a message came up on its screen. Yep, you got it.

What is this "unauthorized" thing? The phone charges when you plug it into a USB plug attached to a computer. The gps charges when you plug it into a USB plug attached to a computer. The USB standard specifies how many volts/milliwatts of power its pins can deliver to an attached device. But there's some kind of super secret handshake that won't let it charge from a USB plug that delivers the same volts/milliwatts from a car charger.

So now I not only have a bunch of the old stupid proprietary plugs, I have to get a new set of stupid plugs that look exactly like nonproprietary ones and keep them carefully labeled. I should have gotten some phone that had worse nominal specs but didn't suck so much.