What you need to know
- The European Commission has proposed making USB-C the standard charging port for all electronic devices, including smartphones and tablets.
- It also wants manufacturers to stop bundling a charger with new devices to "limit the number of unwanted chargers."
- Additionally, the proposal requires manufacturers to harmonize fast charging technology.
The European Commission on September 23 proposed a revised Radio Equipment Directive that seeks to force manufacturers to make USB-C the standard charging port for all popular electronic devices — including phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, headphones, and handheld games consoles.
The new rules also call for harmonized fast charging technology to stop different manufacturers from "unjustifiably limiting" charging speeds and ensuring that consumers can get the same charging speeds using any charger that is compatible with their device.
To "limit the number of unwanted chargers," the Commission plans to make manufacturers stop bundling chargers with new electronic devices.
Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said in a statement:
European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers. We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger.
Once the rules come into effect, it could help cut down the amount of electronic waste by nearly a thousand tons yearly. The Commission also claims the measures will allow consumers to "save €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases."
While the rules aren't likely to have a major impact on Android OEMs, they could force Apple to finally move away from its proprietary Lightning connector. Even though Apple began adding a USB-C port to its iPad line in 2018, iPhones still use a Lightning connector for charging.
Most Android devices — including the best budget phones, use a USB-C port for charging. There are only a small number of entry-level Android phones and tablets that still use a Micro USB port.