MEPs vote for universal charger for smartphones

Will BREXIT halt any action in the UK?

Members of the European Parliament have voted for a single universal charging solution for small portable devices, which Apple had cautioned against.

The resolution passed with 582 votes in favour to 40 against. MEPs will now urge the European Commission (EC) to adopt the new rules.

The MEPs want to make it possible for consumers to use a single charger for all smartphone and tablet models.

But the devices themselves could still, in theory, use different ports.

The idea behind the move is to “decouple” the sale of a charger from that of a new mobile device, and instead encourage consumers to re-use those they already own.

From A to C in mobile charging ports

At present, Apple packages most of its iPhones with charging plugs that have a USB-A port for their Lightning cables.

By contrast, some Android phones – such as Google’s Pixel 4 – come with a wall charger that features a smaller USB-C port, for use with a corresponding USB-C cable.

It could also prevent companies having the freedom to move to a follow-up type of port in the future when the next standard emerges.

They acknowledged, however, that the situation is at least better than in the past, when some proprietary charging cables came hard-wired to their plug, meaning the adapter had no use beyond the device it came with.

“In 2009, there were more than 30 charging solutions, while today there are three charger types,” a press release from the European Parliament said.

But Apple has previously said: “We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide.”

With an eye to the future, MEPs have also said they want the EC to ensure that different wireless chargers are interoperable with different mobile devices.

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