[Update: Voted Passed, Law Pending] The EU will vote to force all smartphones to adopt USB-C
Since smartphones with USB-C started coming out in 2015, the standard has come a long way. Nowadays, it has become, well, the standard connector for almost all Android smartphones out there, from flagship phones to budget devices. With the exception of certain, really cheap phones and accessories, micro-USB is, for most intents and purposes, pretty much dead as of 2020. Even dirt-cheap smartphones like the Redmi 8A have started to come out with USB-C support. But there are still some odd ducks out there. Particularly Apple, which still clings onto their proprietary Lightning port because of revenue purposes as well as certain Android OEMs that, for some reason, are still not done with the old micro-USB port.
The whole point of standards is to have something that everyone uses: you should be able to plug the same cable on any phone you want to charge. And for this reason, the European Union wants to change that. This is not the first time they tried to intervene here, but previous legislation has made it so that they would strongly encourage, yet not mandate, USB-C adoption. If this law is passed, then all smartphone manufacturers, no matter how big or small, would be obligated to use USB-C on their devices if they want to sell their phones within the European economic area.
This would include Apple which does sell their phones in Europe. Although the upcoming iPhone 11S/12 lineup is rumored to come with USB-C, it is still just a rumor and other rumored devices, such as the iPhone SE2, are set to carry a Lightning connector–the passing of this legislation could affect the launch of this device, and potentially even other Apple devices currently in the market.
An initial draft of this law has been approved by a majority of voting members, but it still needs to receive approval from the EU Council in order to become law.
Update: Voted Passed, Law Pending
The EU Parliament has voted in favor of a resolution that calls for much tougher action to reduce e-waste. They are calling for the European Commission to come up with stricter rules by July 2020. As of now, nothing is changed, but parliament is making it clear that something must be done.
One of the ways the Commission has attempted to reduce waste is to reduce “unnecessary variety.” This is where USB-C comes into play. Back in 2009, there were over 30 charger types on the market. Today there are only 3. Still, Apple, one of the biggest players in this space, continues to use a proprietary charging standard. Apple claims a universal standard would “stifle innovation.” All of the dongles that Apple and 3rd-parties sell create tons of e-waste.
The resolution says consumers shouldn’t need to buy new chargers/adapters with each new device. Parliament wants the Commission to introduce a strategy to decouple the purchase of chargers from a new device. The Commission has said they welcome the resolution and acknowledged its current approach has not met expectations. The next step is to come up with the actual legislation, which is planned for Q3 2020.
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