EU requires single socket for phones

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LONDON (AP)

The European Union on Thursday announced plans to require the smartphone industry to adopt a uniform charging cord for mobile devices, a push that could eliminate the all-too-familiar experience of rummaging through a drawer full of tangled cables to find the right one.

The European Commission, the executive body of the bloc, law Project which would require charging USB-C cables, a technology that many device manufacturers have already adopted. The main obstacle is Apple, which has said it fears the new rules will limit innovation, which will end up hurting consumers. IPhones come with the company’s Lightning charging port, though newer models come with cables that can plug into a USB-C outlet.

The EU push is sure to be cheered by the millions of people who have searched through a tangle of tangled cables for the one that matches their phone. But the EU also wants to reduce the 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste thrown away each year by Europeans.

The commission said the typical EU resident owns at least three chargers and uses two regularly, but 38% of people say they can’t charge their phone at least once because they couldn’t find a compatible charger. Some 420 million mobile phones or portable electronic devices were sold in the EU last year.

The draft rules also call for standardizing fast-charging technology and giving consumers the right to choose whether to buy new devices with or without chargers, which the EU says will save consumers $ 250 million. euros ($ 293 million) per year.

After more than a decade of trying to persuade the industry to adopt a common standard – efforts that have reduced to a handful of dozens of different load outlets – the EU Executive Commission is pushing the issue.

“Chargers power all of our most essential electronics. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not needed. We are putting an end to this, ”said Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market. “With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices – an important step in increasing convenience and reducing waste.”

Businesses will have two years to adjust to the new rules once they take effect. The rules would only apply to electronic products sold in the 30 countries of the European Single Market, but, like the EU’s strict privacy regulations, they could end up becoming a de facto standard for the consumer. rest of the world.

Apple said it shares the European Commission’s commitment to protect the environment, but questioned whether the proposals would help consumers.

“We remain concerned that strict regulations requiring only one type of connector stifle innovation rather than encourage it, which in turn will hurt consumers in Europe and globally,” the company said in a statement.

Breton denied that the new rules would slow innovation.

“If Apple wants to continue to have its own outlet, they will have the option to do so. It’s not against innovation, it’s just to make the lives of our fellow citizens a little easier, ”Breton said during a press briefing in Brussels, adding that device manufacturers could always put two different ports on their phones if they wish. He added that the proposals would allow updates to keep pace with technological advancements.

Under the proposed law, which has yet to be reviewed and approved by the European Parliament, phones, tablets, digital cameras, handheld video game consoles, headsets and headphones sold in the European Union are expected to all be fitted with ports of USB-C charging. Headphones, smartwatches and fitness trackers are not included.


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