EU plans to introduce common charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones

EU plans to introduce common charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones

BRUSSELS, September 23 Reuters: The European Union aims to have a common charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones under a proposed proposal by the European Commission on Thursday in a world first, with the move impacting iPhone maker Apple more than its rivals.

The move has been more than 10 years in the making, with the European Union executive touting annual environmental benefits and 250 million euros $293 million in environmental savings for users.

Under the Commission's proposal, a USB-C connector will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, mobile speakers and handheld videogame consoles. Chargers will also be sold separately of electromechanical devices.

In the near future the EU executive will update its Ecodesign regulation to ensure that the common power supply is interoperable. This is the last step for an external charge.

The Commission called it not targeting Apple and only acted because companies were not able to agree on a common solution despite a decade of talks, which reduced the number of mobile chargers to three from 30.

However, we remain concerned that strict regulation requiring one connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world, said the company in a statement.

It also expressed concerns about the 24 - month transition period for companies to comply with the legislation once it is adopted.

We gave industry plenty of time to come up with a common solution; now the time is ripe for legislative action for a unique charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and is in line with our green and digital ambitions, says the Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

Deputy Commission Industry Manager Thierry Breton said an increase in common charging ports would reduce waste and increase convenience.

Internet users have long complained about using different chargers for smartphones. The former is charged using a USB-C connectors, while android-based devices are charged with the standard USB/C connectors.

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

The proposal needs the green light from EU countries and EU lawmakers after which companies will have two years to adapt their devices.