EUROPE: A desire of a standard smartphones charger that is part of a more global approach to connectivity
The European Parliament would like to set up a single charger common to all brands of smartphones. Among other things, this would reduce “electronic waste, but also make life easier for consumers”. According to estimates by the European Union, “the old chargers generate more than 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year”. In addition to making life easier for consumers, there is, therefore, an ecological argument to developing a single charger.
It is not the first time that such a project has been discussed in the European Parliament. Already in 2009, the European Commission and the main smartphone manufacturers had signed a memorandum to harmonize phone chargers. In 2014, a new directive confirmed the European Parliament’s desire to see a single charger appear. A desire for which the European Commission had been mandated to pursue this objective. Unfortunately, this has so far been unsuccessful.
“Voluntary agreements between the various players in the sector have not produced the expected results,” said MEPs. A failure that could push the European Parliament to tighten the screw if the manufacturers do not show more goodwill. The question has recently been the subject of a new debate , the conclusion of which should be communicated very soon.
A goal that does not please everyone
Ultimately, the European Union would like the universal charger to be compatible with all smartphones, tablets, e-readers and any other portable device. Obviously, this does not complain to everyone, especially to Apple who defends its Lightning port.
“The regulations aimed at promoting compliance on the type of connector integrated into all smartphones prevent innovation rather than encourage it,” said Apple to the European Union . The Californian firm also pointed out that since 2009, it and several companies [Google, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony] had made efforts to promote a common charging solution, USB-C, via a connector or a cable.
Apple had also stressed that the imposition of a single charger would cause a significant amount of electronic waste since consumers would have to get a new charger at the expense of the one they already own.
The European Union could still put in place binding measures to guarantee the compatibility of portable devices with a single type of charger.