The European Union parliament has passed a new law stating that all new smartphones, tablets and cameras will have a single standard charger, which shall be implemented from late 2024. As per the new law, in the first phase, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. Then from spring 2026, the rule will be extended to laptops.
It is to be noted that the law has been adopted on the back of the EU’s efforts to reduce e-waste and empower consumers to make more sustainable choices. Experts feel besides other smartphone makers, the new rule will affect Apple the most as it will be forced to change the charging port for iPhones and other devices for its users in the EU. USB-C ports can charge at up to 100 Watts, transfer data up to 40 GB per second, and can be linked to external displays.
In the next two years, the new EU law will affect all handheld mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, handheld videogame consoles, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, mice and portable navigation systems. Analysts feel it will have an impact on Samsung, Huawei and other device makers.
As per the details, with this change, the customers can now opt for two charges one with and one without a USB-C charger while buying a device.
EU policymakers have been advocating the single charger rule highlighting that the rule will simplify the life of Europeans, reduce the mountain of obsolete chargers and reduce costs for consumers.
As per news reports, the rule can save at least €200 million per year and cut more than a thousand tonnes of EU electronic waste every year, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.
Resistance from Apple
Though Apple is already using USB-C charging ports on its iPads and laptops, it had tried resisting the legislation as it would force it to change its Lightning ports on its iPhones. It had argued that the charger will be disproportionate and the technology would stifle innovation.
The European Union has 27 countries in its bloc and is home to 450 million people. Such a big regulatory change can often disrupt global industry norms, which is known as the Brussels Effect.
In India, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs has already written to industry players and other concerned stakeholders to think about a plan for having one cable for charging all your devices.
The ministry has cited the concept of LiFE - Lifestyle for the Environment - announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN Climate Change Conference (CoP 26) held in Glasgow in November 2021.
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