January 16

European lawmakers are in the process of discussing measures to essentially enforce a standardized USB-C charger for all smartphones sold within the region.

Despite slowly becoming the de facto standard for most Android smartphones, the EU wants manufacturers to adopt the same standard across the industry. Discussions have started on a series of “binding measures” that would mean no matter the OEM or price-point, USB-C will be utilized (via ZDNet).

This follows some voluntary measures put in place by MEPs in 2014. However, the Radio Equipment Directive has not “yielded the desired results.” European lawmakers want to put in more stringent measures in a bid to reduce electronic waste. Old chargers are estimated to account for a shocking 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year.

USB-C is now ubiquitous across the industry, but there are still many affordable smartphones that have stuck with micro-USB — the recent Nokia 2.1 and 2.2 being prime examples. This is usually a cost reduction measure, as the licensing for the charging standard is slightly lower. It does mean that charge speeds and data transfer rates are lower, though, as a result.

While this doesn’t affect any of the flagship Android smartphones, it will be most beneficial to those who pick up affordable smartphones and those with iPhones. Despite adopting USB-C on their unbelievably popular iPad Pro line and recent MacBook Pro series, Apple still ships its flagship smartphone line with the outdated Lightning connector. Rumors are rife that Apple is set to introduce USB-C compatible iPhones in 2021, but this would shake up the entire space — although we could see portless Apple devices in future.

Having one cable standard that works with every smartphone in a household would likely be a massive bonus for those in multi-device homes. Plus, this war on ports means borrowing a cable from a friend or workmate could eventually be that bit easier. The death of micro-USB on smartphones, tablets, and more cannot come soon enough.

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