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EU Moves To Mandate USB-C Universal Charger For All Phones

According to a new rule proposed by the European Commission, manufacturers will be required to provide a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic gadgets (EC).

The goal is to decrease waste by encouraging people to reuse their old chargers when purchasing a new gadget.

According to the plan, all smartphones sold in the EU must include USB-C chargers.

Apple has stated that such a move would be detrimental to innovation.

Apple’s iPhone series utilizes an Apple-designed “Lightning” connection, making it the most popular smartphone with a proprietary charging port.

“We continue to be concerned that rigid legislation mandating only one type of connector stifles rather than encourages innovation, harming customers in Europe and throughout the world,” the company told the BBC.

It went on to say that by 2030, it wants every Apple device and use to be carbon neutral.

Most Android phones either feature USB micro-B charging connectors or have already upgraded to the USB-C standard.

High-end phone models from prominent Android manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei, as well as new iPad and MacBook models, employ USB-C charging connectors.

The modifications would affect the device’s charging port, while the end of the cable connecting to a socket may be USB-C or USB-A.

According to a Commission impact assessment report published in 2019, over half of chargers sold with mobile phones in the European Union in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29 percent had a USB C connector and 21% had a Lightning connector.

The proposed rules will apply to:

  • smartphones
  • tablets
  • cameras
  • headphones
  • portable speakers
  • handheld video game consoles

For technical concerns related to size and use circumstances, other devices such as earphones, smartwatches, and fitness trackers were not evaluated.

The proposal also establishes a standard for fast charging speeds, ensuring that all devices capable of fast charging are charged at the same rate.

A Motion That Strives To Minimize Waste

For more than a decade, EU lawmakers have pushed for a uniform standard, with the Commission’s study predicting that discarded and unused charging cables produce more than 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.

Around 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic gadgets were sold in the European Union last year.

The typical individual has three phone chargers, of which two are used often.

There were over 30 distinct chargers in 2009, but most models now adhere to just three: USB-C, Lightning, and USB micro-B.

“In the perspective of customers, having one consistent billing standard would be a triumph for common sense,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.

“Despite Apple’s strong case for maintaining the Lightning connector, given the one billion active iPhone customers, some of its devices, including the Mac and iPad, now support USB-C.”

“Hopefully, as Apple continues to introduce USB-C to more products, it will become obsolete.”

It might take many years for the ideas to take effect.

The European Parliament and national governments will discuss the legislative proposal, known as a Directive.

Amendments to the plan may be proposed by MEPs and member states. The directive will only be implemented when the European Commission has consented to these changes.

After then, member states typically have two years to adopt the guidelines into national law, and manufacturers have 24 months to modify their charging ports, according to the EC.

“We gave business enough of opportunity to develop their own solutions; now is the time for legislation to establish a universal charger. This is a significant victory for our customers and the environment, and it aligns with our green and digital goals “Margrethe Vestager, Vice President of the European Commission, stated.

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