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Debate over common EU charging port tilts towards USB-C

The years-long pursuit for a common EU charging port for mobile phones, tablets and
headphones enters a new chapter as an EU panel has backed a contender for the title, making way for an assembly vote next month.

The European Commission’s idea of a single mobile charging port is more than a decade old and yet no consensus has been reached just yet. The Commission proposed draft legislation last year but to no avail either.

However, the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee on Wednesday agreed with the Commission’s proposal for a common charging port. While EU citizens use Apple iPhones and Android-based devices, the decision seems to tilt to the Android-friendly USB-C.

In short, the committee intends to make the USB Type-C port standard for mobile phones, tablets, headphones, e-readers, low-powered laptops, keyboards, computer mice, earbuds, smartwatches and electronic toys.

The factor that tilted the scales is obvious — the sales of Android devices in the EU outnumber Apple’s.

“With half a billion chargers for portable devices shipped in Europe each year, generating 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of e-waste, a single charger for mobile phones and other small and medium electronic devices would benefit everyone,” said Alex Agius Saliba, who is leading the debate in parliament.

Apple upset about the idea

This line of thought does not please Apple, as its iPhones are charged from a Lightning. The company has responded to the proposal saying that such a solution would hurt innovation and create heaps of waste if consumers were forced to switch to new chargers.

This suggestion contradicts the EU’s baseline pretext for adopting a single mobile charging port. The proposed measures could cut electronic waste by 1,000 tons annually, as the European Commission argued. The solution is predicted to save consumers EUR 250 million.

Moreover, some Apple devices already feature USB-C type ports.


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