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Europe might become the first continent to make all phones require the same charger

Yes, that’ll probably mean USB-C.

Usb-c charger on blue background
Image: Unsplash

UPDATE 1/31/2020: Well, Thursday was a big day for the EU Parliament. In a landslide decision, it voted 582-40 in favor of the EU Commission requiring universal chargers for smartphones. It’s not clear at this point if they mean just the connectors or if they also want to unify fast-charging standards as well.

The latest thing on the minds of the European Parliament? Phone chargers, which invariably find their way to the landfill. This isn’t some small amount either, it’s to the tune of 51,000 tons per year. The EU doesn’t want that, so it is working on a law to make phone manufacturers use a common charger type on all mobile devices.

Will this finally mean USB-C is the universal standard it was meant to be?

The European Parliament is considering laws to require universal phone chargers

Similar measures were introduced in 2014 but on a voluntary basis. You can imagine how well that worked, since the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are debating the issue yet again. It makes sense for consumers, who would be able to recharge their devices from any charger. Heck, it even makes sense for manufacturers, reducing the number of design decisions that need to be made, while reducing manufacturing bloat. Well… except for one manufacturer.

Apple has tried to argue against it. With over one billion Lightning connector-equipped devices out there, standards for future chargers would be unnecessarily restricting the market.

Thing is, nobody’s saying you can’t make Lightning cables for existing devices. My reading of the proposals is for devices not yet on the market.

  • This might finally make USB-C fulfill its universal connector promise
  • Apple argued against this type of universal charger law last year, calling it “bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers,” while “freez[ing] innovation rather than encourage it.”

Even if this law does come into play (and I hope it does), manufacturers will still find ways to sidestep it. Apple has been rumored to be working on a portless phone that only uses wireless charging, and Meizu made a similar phone last year that failed to meet its Indiegogo targets.

What do you think? Would you like to see this standard in the US? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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