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The EU Could Compel Phone Makers To Use a Common Charger

AH OnePlus 9 KL image charging 3
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The European Commission is presenting a legislative proposal to bring a common charger rule for mobile phones, tablets, and headphones. This move isn’t particularly surprising given that the EU has long tried to implement a common charger rule for consumer electronics.

Reuters reports that this move could have a bigger impact on Apple than its Android rivals. This has a lot to do with the company’s Lightning port used on iPhones and some iPads. Meanwhile, some iPad models and most Macs offer a USB-C port.

This move could force manufacturers like Apple to use a common charging port

A majority of the Android smartphones have already migrated to USB-C, suggesting that manufacturers like Samsung may not be too disappointed by this new legislative proposal. Although it’s unclear what the EU will classify as a common port for this new ruling, it’s most likely going to be USB-C.

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Responding to the common charger proposal, Apple said that this could increase electronic waste and also annoy existing users. Although the company has been hesitant to switch over from Lightning, this proposal could force Apple to change its ways.

In addition to the common charger rule, phone makers are recommended to stop offering chargers with new phones. Multiple companies have already implemented this as a means to protect the environment. This also has the positive side-effect of bringing down costs.

A study conducted by the European Commission in 2019 found that around 50% of the phones sold in 2018 featured a micro USB port. During the same period, 21% of devices relied on the Lightning connector while 29% of them had USB C connectors. Expectedly, the number of USB C compatible phones is now high while micro USB devices are shrinking rapidly.

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The EU said early last year that the common charger rule would be in place by July 2020. However, the pandemic hindered those plans. Recently, German lawmakers were lobbying the EU to mandate seven years of security updates and spare parts for phones. The latter is designed to reduce electronic waste generated by discarded devices.

Manufacturers like Samsung already offer up to four years of security updates, while most companies stick to two years. In response to the proposals, a company spokesperson said that the average life of a smartphone has increased from 21 months in 2015 to 29 months in 2020.