Technology

The European Union pronounces plans to make all cellular units appropriate with USB-C. to oblige

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Enlarge / iPads with USB-C ports.

The European Commission has announced its intention to enact laws requiring that all consumer electronic devices sold in the European market have a USB-C port for charging within certain categories.

Should the new regulations come into effect, they would make the sale of consumer electronic devices without this port illegal. The law would apply to smartphones, portable video game consoles, portable speakers, cameras, and some types of headphones, but not to devices that only use wireless charging.

Neither would the legislation prevent devices from having additional ports for charging as long as they also have a USB-C charging port.

Other related mandates include a “harmonized” standard for fast charging technology and the obligation to offer bundled mobile devices without the charger, which some companies have already done on their own to reduce waste and costs.

Manufacturers would have two years to become compliant. The focus now is on the devices that will receive the fee, but the commission plans to focus on power supplies as well in the near future.

The declared aim is to reduce e-waste by throwing away unwanted chargers when buying new devices. The legislation is also meant to be consumer-friendly – if every portable mobile device uses the same connector, there will be less confusion in finding the correct charger either in the consumer’s personal supply of cables or on store shelves.

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Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a press release on the law:

Chargers provide power to all of our major electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We’ll put an end to that. With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step towards increasing convenience and reducing waste.

This new legislation could be the culmination of years of efforts in the European Union to reduce the number of fee standards. Not so long ago there were dozens. Almost all mobile devices now use one of three ports: USB-C, Micro-USB or Lightning.

Micro-USB has been on the rise in recent years as it has been gradually replaced by USB-C in Android phones and many other devices. But the big impact here could be on Apple, which only launched new iPhones last week that still use the company’s proprietary Lightning port, despite the rest of the industry opting for USB-C.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Apple said:

We remain concerned that tight regulation mandating only one type of connector will stifle innovation rather than encourage it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.

Thierry responded to the criticism in a press conference. “If Apple wants to continue to have its own connector, they will have the option,” he said. “It’s not against innovation, it’s just about making our fellow citizens’ lives a little easier.”

There have already been several credible reports that Apple is considering ditching the iPhone’s charging port entirely on future models and instead relying on wireless charging based on the company’s Qi standard and MagSafe technology. The draft law would not prevent this.

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