The European Commission has announced it was putting forward legislation to establish a common charging solution, with USB-C to become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles.
The main target of the legislation is Apple, with the company with its Lightning connector having around 30% market share in the EU. Most other smartphone companies have already converted to USB-C, with only low-end devices still using micro-USB.
The Commission is proposing:
- A harmonised charging port for electronic devices: USB-C will be the common port. This will allow consumers to charge their devices with the same USB-C charger, regardless of the device brand.
- Harmonised fast charging technology will help prevent that different producers unjustifiably limit the charging speed and will help to ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device.
- Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: consumers will be able to purchase a new electronic device without a new charger. This will limit the number of unwanted chargers purchased or left unused. Reducing production and disposal of new chargers is estimated to reduce the amount of electronic waste by almost a thousand tonnes’ yearly.
- Improved information for consumers: producers will need to provide relevant information about charging performance, including information on the power required by the device and if it supports fast charging. This will make it easier for consumers to see if their existing chargers meet the requirements of their new device or help them to select a compatible charger. Combined with the other measures, this would help consumers limit the number of new chargers purchased and help them save €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases.
In a comment to Reuters Apple said:
“We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”
The legislation does not apply to devices which only charge wirelessly like smartwatches and also Apple’ rumoured portless iPhone. By abandoning charging ports completely the company will be able to maintain its lucrative Made for iPhone (MFI) licensing revenue while avoiding a common charging standard.
The Revised Radio Equipment Directive will now need to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council by ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision). A transition period of 24 months from the date of adoption will give industry time to adapt before the entry into application.
via The Verge