Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

EU may get tough on common mobile phone charger requirement

The EU might compel Apple to switch to more universal connector standards such as USB-C The EU might compel Apple to switch to more universal connector standards such as USB-C
Emmett Howard | 10 August, 2018, 09:56

The Commission has been trying to get mobile phone companies to use the same charger for almost a decade, citing both customer inconvenience and 51,000 tons of yearly electronic waste from old chargers as the primary reasons.

According to reports, European regulators are working to force Apple to switch charging cords to USB Type-C, what nearly every other smartphone uses.

The EU will reportedly commence a study to decide whether there's a need for new action, whilst analysing the effect of other options.

14 manufacturers, including Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and Nokia have signed, in 2009, a voluntary memorandum of understanding (MoU).

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The EU has proven that they are not shy to intervene on behalf of consumers, even against vast multi-national companies. EU Commissioners for Competition and Internal Market, Margrethe Vestager and Elzbieta Bienkowska, are investigating the feasibility of charger compatibility between various mobile devices. This would mostly affect Apple, since that's the only major holdout still using a non-standard, proprietary port. But given the limitations of micro-USB that did not allow it to keep pace with technological developments, Apple opted to develop its own Lighting Connector that offered various advantages over micro-USB including a fully reversible connector, increased bandwidth, screen mirroring over HDMI, and high quality audio transmission.

Whilst USB-C has continued to roll-out on new smartphones, the European Union asserts adoption has been slow, with Apple the only major vendor to stand by its proprietary Lightning cable.

"Given the unsatisfactory progress with this voluntary approach, the Commission will shortly launch an impact assessment study to evaluate costs and benefits of different other options", Vestager said in an 1 August response to a query from an MEP.

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