First step of the European Union to have a single type of mobile charger

When, more than 20 years ago, the incipient mobile telephony sector began to boom,l, each company – Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Alcatel, Blackberry – had its own type of charger, something that was finally standardized with the arrival of microUSB and its adoption by all brands except Apple, which preferred to opt for the Lightning on their iPhonesa closed connector under its own standard.

All brands under the same standard

For a few years, mobile phones have taken over the usb type c, which is here to stay and is the one that the vast majority of range tops mount. So microUSB, Lightning y USB-Cthree different ports that the European Commission does not like, which has spent years looking for a way to consolidate them all under the same standard: quoting Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, “one charger to rule them all”

According to a 2018 tweet from a European Parliament aidethe European Commission is finally considering using the power it received in 2014 to force mobile phone manufacturers to produce a common charger”. Can you do that? In fact, already in 2009 the European Union signed a memorandum that forced companies to harmonize the connectors for all mobile phones that were going to come out in 2011, which led to the use of microUSB in all except the iPhone.

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USB – C as standard even for the iPhone

This decision was ratified by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the European Commissioner for the Single Marketwhich has made it clear that the measures initiated by the mobile phone industry have not been adequate to standardize the format, which is why the European Commission wants to deal with the measure by imposing a single type of charging cable on manufacturers and therefore a single port for all terminals.

This would force current brands such as Xiaomi, which even in their new terminals continue to mount microUSB, to adopt USB type C. The most curious case would be that Apple, at least in Europe, would have to abide by European rules and launch iPhones with USB C ports, thus abandoning the proprietary Lightning connector and using an open connector.

Lightning / USB C

In 2011, Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding to harmonize chargers for new smartphone models coming onto the market that year, leading to a significant reduction in the number of different chargers and market convergence towards USB 2.0 micro-B connections.

Half of the chargers sold with mobile phones in the European Union in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29% had a USB C connector and 21% a Lightning connectoraccording to a Commission impact assessment study in 2019.

The industry and the Commission tried to reach a final resolution on the issue in 2018, but failed. Apple warned that EU pressure for a common charger “It would hurt innovation and create a mountain of e-waste if consumers were forced to switch to new chargers.”

He also said the legislation was unnecessary as the industry moves toward USB-C via one connector or one set of cables. Given this push and pull between the EU and the American company, for the last 2-3 years we have been seeing stories, rumors that The iPhones are going to lose their classic Lightning port and will use a USB C.

A single charger for all mobiles, including the iPhone

Europe officially presented a law in 2021 that will force Apple to use USB C on its iPhone. According to what Reuters tells,the text proposes a standard for mobile chargers, which implies that all companies should use this connection for their devices within the new European legal framework.

According to the Commission proposal, the USB-C connector will become the standard port for all the:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • digital cameras
  • Headphones
  • portable speakers
  • handheld video game consoles

chargers too will be sold separately from electronic devices. The EU executive will soon review its eco-design regulation to make the external power supply interoperable, which is the last step for common charging. By way of exception, the following devices will be outside this law for being “too small to mount a USB type C”:

  • Smart watches / Smart watches
  • Health monitoring devices
  • Some sports teams

The first step to pass the Single Charger Law

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection has supported this Wednesday, with 43 votes in favor and two against, the proposal of the European Commission about the introduction of the same charger for different types of electronic devices. Specifically, the proposal revises the Radio Equipment Directive of 2014, with the aim of harmonizing the charging port and fast charging technology, making USB-C the standard port for all smartphones and other electronic devices, such as computers, peripherals, digital cameras and game consoles.

This is the first step in preparing the draft that will make up the new Law -if it is approved.

What do you think? Will we see an iPhone with USB C because Apple wants it, or because the EU imposes it to sell it throughout its territory?