Type C v Type A

On the market today, the charger that charges an iPhone will not be the same that charges a Samsung phone, an iPad, or the AirPods among other devices as these all come with their own kinds of chargers distinct from the competition. It should also be noted that with advancing technology, USB Type C is becoming the most common charging port and the European Commission intends to make it compulsory, and Type A is quickly disappearing.

In order to protect the consumer and the wider environment, the European Commission is proposing passing a new legislation to standardize the charging systems for the different devices.

In a press statement that Guru8 has seen titled “Pulling the plug on consumer frustration and e-waste: Commission proposes a common charger for electronic devices”, the Commission to compel manufacturers to “establish a common charging solution for all relevant devices”.

According to the Commission, it proposes to revise their Union’s Radio Equipment Directive in order to harmonise the charging port and fast charging technology by insisting that “USB – C will become the standard for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles” in order to protect the environment against e-waste and consumer inconvenience that has been brought about by the (prevalence) “of different, incompatible charges for electronics.

To ensure that one charger fits all scenarios, the Commission in its proposals will see that the sale of chargers is also unbundled (and sold separately) from the sale of electronic devices such that any available charger is able to charge the available devices without having to have a different charger for every device.

The directive would see uses buy chargers separately from the devices with the overall motive to “improve consumers’ convenience and reduce the environmental footprint (that is) associated with the production and disposal of chargers, thereby supporting the green and digital transitions”.

“European Consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible charges piling up in their drawers” reads a quote of Executive Vice President for Europe fit for a Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager cited within the statement. She adds that “We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions”.

“…more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary”, adds Commissioner Thierry Breton. “We are putting an end to that”.

This decision will impact the future devices manufactured by technology companies, most especially the devices that are intended for the European Union market that is bound by the legislation to be passed. However, to be consistent, companies may be forced to adjust to the legislation even for the non – European markets just like is being done with the GDPR, a model that countries are now adopting for their data protection laws.