European Union to study need for action on common mobile phone charger

The EU might compel Apple to switch to more universal connector standards such as USB-C

It turns out that the Commission has ordered a study to determine if and when punitive actions have to be taken against companies that refuse to standardize the chargers that go with their electronic devices, phones included. The EU has had the same concern for the last decade, and now they are pushing forward to explore options to remedy the charger problem by themselves. The chief called out the existing voluntary approach of the manufacturers as "unsatisfactory" and suggested that the European Commission might have to step in to resolve the situation.

For almost a decade the European Commission has lobbied for a common mobile charging standard, asserting over 51,000 tons of electronic waste gathers yearly from old chargers.

Back in 2009, 14 smartphone manufacturers signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) committing themselves to switch to a common charging port for handsets released from 2011.

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"An "impact assessment study" will help the EC decide whether there is a need for action and analyse the impact of various options", according to the report, with Vestager's internal market colleague, Elzbieta Bienkowska, placed in charge of the issue. After this agreement expired in 2012, a new letter of intent was signed by the same companies in 2013 and 2014.

It turns out that the European Union has to deal with 51,000 tons of e-waste in the form of old chargers and cables, and it is now determined to enforce a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2009, and renewed in 2013, where gadget makers agree to agree on a common standard.

EU REGULATORS could force Apple to ditch its proprietary Lightning charger in favour of one-size-fits-all USB. Fast charging formats only added more confusion, as the standard USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) format coexists with Qualcomm's proprietary Quick Charge technology, which started to be compatible with the USB-PD only in the 4.0 version.

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