BRUSSELS. – The European Union announced yesterday that it will impose a universal charger for smartphones, setting up a clash with Apple and its widely used iPhone.
The European Commission believes a standard cable for all devices will cut back on electronic waste, but Apple argues that a one-size fits all charger would slow innovation and create more pollution.
The bloc is home to 450 million people, some of the world’s richest consumers, and the imposition of the USB-C as a cable standard, once approved by member states and European Parliament, would affect the entire global smartphone market.
“European consumers have been frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” said EU executive vice president Margrethe Vestager in a statement.
“We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger,” she said.
Consumers currently have to decide between phones served by three main chargers: “Lightning” for Apple handsets, the micro-USB widely used on most other mobile phones and the newer USB-C that is increasingly coming into use.
That range is already greatly simplified from 2009, when dozens of different types of chargers were bundled with mobile phones, creating piles of electronic garbage when users changed brands.
The EU said the current situation remained “inconvenient” and that European consumers spent approximately €2.4 billion (US$2,8 billion) annually on standalone chargers they bought separately. – AFP.