Image: Torsten Dettlaff (Pexels)

For purposes ranging from simplicity to the reduction of electronic waste, the EU announced in 2018 that it was considering introducing legislation that would mandate a common type of charging port for smartphones. Three years later, that appears to finally be happening.

As reported by Reuters, the European Commission will be presenting legislation next month to establish a common charger for smartphones and other electronic devices. The top choice will presumably be USB-C due to the connector’s practicality and increasing level of adoption; a Commission impact assessment study in 2019 found that “half of chargers sold with mobile phones in the European Union in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector while 29 percent had a USB C connector […].”

While it’s unclear how far the legislation might get, Apple would be the company that is most affected by this. That’s because the company’s iPhones (and many of its other products) leverage the Lightning connector for charging purposes. According to the study mentioned above, the Lightning connector only made up 21 percent of the chargers sold with mobile phones in the EU in 2018.

This is a proprietary computer bus and power connector introduced by Apple in 2012 that comprises 8 pins instead of the 30 pins used in the company’s older 30-pin dock connector. Thanks to its symmetrical design, users can insert it without paying too much attention to its orientation.

The EU’s legislation for establishing a common charger should have less of an impact on Android devices, as many of them are now powered by USB-C connectors.

Image: Apple

Apple warned that the EU push for a common charger would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronic waste if consumers were forced to switch to new chargers.

It also said the legislation was unnecessary as the industry moves to USB-C through a connector or cable assembly.

Source: Reuters (via 9to5Mac)

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22 Comments

  1. I’d prefer if the universal standard actually was the lightning. And I don’t even have a Iphone.

    Mostly I use wireless charging tho, I had one phone with USB-C that had the chargeport go bad.

    I’m guessing Apple will eliminate wired charging in a few years anyhow so /whatever

  2. Wireless charging would be better if it wasn’t so inefficient. Phone ends up burning hot, charges slowly, but pulls double the juice from the wall. I suppose if anyone will actually use quality components and create something that doesn’t suck, it will be Apple. Of course, when they have it worked out, true to the Apple way, they will remove the wired charger, and charge an extra 200 for the wireless charger.

  3. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 39560, member: 1041″]
    true to the Apple way, they will remove the wired charger, and charge an extra 200 for the wireless charger.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yes, and Samsung will counter with a foldable wireless charger that doubles as headphones for $400.
    Oh, and with a stylus!

  4. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 39560, member: 1041″]
    Wireless charging would be better if it wasn’t so inefficient. Phone ends up burning hot, charges slowly, but pulls double the juice from the wall. I suppose if anyone will actually use quality components and create something that doesn’t suck, it will be Apple. Of course, when they have it worked out, true to the Apple way, they will remove the wired charger, and charge an extra 200 for the wireless charger.
    [/QUOTE]
    Hmm.

    Apart from it being slower (I use it overnight so no big deal) – I can’t say I’ve had any of the other issues you talk about. Not saying they can’t exist, I just haven’t had issue with them.

    Im using an iPXS on a Anker Qi charger

    The fact that Apple standardized around a third party standard is a miracle and blessing. But maybe the issues lay more with the phone than the charger?

  5. I want a standardized port that has to be used on every phone… the why is… Wireless chargers have a standard but cases make that standard iffy at times… oh and larger phones have issue with using any kind of cradle for charging… ESPECIALLY with a case on them.

    I have been an otterbox case user for a long time now. They are super durable… the flaps that I have had wear out have gotten me a new case for the cost of shipping and handling. I can live with that.

    If you don’t use the larger phones… (Note user here.) then this is of course less of an issue.

    Speaking of phones I want to branch into a while other conversation but I’ll leave that for now.

  6. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 39562, member: 96″]
    Hmm.

    Apart from it being slower (I use it overnight so no big deal) – I can’t say I’ve had any of the other issues you talk about. Not saying they can’t exist, I just haven’t had issue with them.

    Im using an iPXS on a Anker Qi charger

    The fact that Apple standardized around a third party standard is a miracle and blessing. But maybe the issues lay more with the phone than the charger?
    [/QUOTE]
    I read about this last year, but didn’t save the links. So, here is the first hit on Google.

    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://debugger.medium.com/wireless-charging-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-48afdde70ed9[/URL]

  7. USB-C is the better standard. Most accessories use USB-C. Vehicles come with USB-C now. Just makes sense.

  8. [QUOTE=”Auer, post: 39545, member: 225″]
    I’d prefer if the universal standard actually was the lightning. And I don’t even have a Iphone.

    Mostly I use wireless charging tho, I had one phone with USB-C that had the chargeport go bad.

    I’m guessing Apple will eliminate wired charging in a few years anyhow so /whatever
    [/QUOTE]

    I have had the USB chargeport go bad on my Pixel 3. It wore out from use, leading to the friction fir of the plug no longer working, and the plug just falling out.

    I feel pretty certain this is just an implementation failure, not anything wrong with the USB-C spec.

    They need to use better materials that don’t wear as easily around the port.

  9. As far as wireless charging goes, I tested it and absolutely hated it, and haven’t used it since.

    It charges slowly, makes things hot, has HUGE efficiency problems, and on more than a few occasions I accidentally knocked my phone off of the charging platform resulting with a 5% charge later when I needed it.

    I am still firmly convinced that whenever there is a choice between absolutely anything wired and absolutely anything wireless, the wired version is always going to perform better, be more secure and much much more reliable.

  10. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 39697, member: 203″]
    the wired version is always going to perform better, be more secure and much much more reliable.
    [/QUOTE]
    I’d agree with all of those when it comes to data transfer.

    For charging – only 2 of the 3 I think are accurate. Hard to beat air gapped for security after all – not impossible, but much more difficult.

    For my own personal use – the amount of inefficiency is small enough that the 2 phones we have in the house it doesn’t really matter. 15Wh vs 20Wh isn’t really that big when you are just looking at a handful of devices. Over the course of a year, between 2 phones, that costs me, at our crazy California energy rates, an additional total of $1.10 in “inefficiency”.

    And I haven’t had any problems with heat. I don’t exclusively wirelessly charge – that’s just on my nightstand. If I’m out and about I have a wired charger in the truck that I use if I need a boost out in the field, and I take a cable and AC adapter if I’m out on a trip so I can charge on a flight or in the airport (I never plug into a strange USB port, just like I never join free WiFi).

    I do have issues with alignment on occasion. Apple’s Magsafe idea was a great one – my phone is old enough that it doesn’t have that though. But having a magnet so the charger snaps into the correct location is … a really good idea. That really is about my only gripe – about once a month I don’t quite get lined up on the charger correctly, but Magsafe mitigates that. I have many more issues with lint and crap plugging up my charging port on my phone – I have to clean it out more often than my belly button.

    Yeah, some people don’t like wireless. That’s fine. I think it makes for a pretty good charging standard though – one that all the phone companies seem to have actually gotten behind. And hey, if the industry can actually agree on a standard, I’m for getting behind it.

    If you want wired chargers – sure, go for it. Those have to deal with data transfer and security and whatever else you want to do over wired – peripheral interfaces and such. USB C could do all of that, so could Lightning, so could any number of things – everyone is just trying to get their own version of licensing fees and security protocols in place there.

  11. I absolutely care about usb-c charger efficiency, but specifically for using raspberry pis. Wireless charging is horribly inefficient, in the 40-60% range. Most wired chargers aren’t dramatically better in the 60% to 80% range. I want a charger that is like a titanium PSU – 93% efficient or more.

    if any tech review sites wanted to dig into charger efficiency, I’d be all over those articles.

  12. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 39708, member: 1041″]
    I absolutely care about usb-c charger efficiency, but specifically for using raspberry pis.
    [/QUOTE]
    That is a good reason to care. I’ve not seen a RPi run on Qi before, but I suppose it would be possible.

  13. Doesn’t Thunderbolt use the same connector as usb-c? Will a usb-c cord not perform standard things like charging on a thunderbolt device?

    Never had an iphone, just wondering. Both of our new phones (2 years ago) have usb-c

  14. [QUOTE=”Burticus, post: 39718, member: 297″]
    Doesn’t Thunderbolt use the same connector as usb-c? Will a usb-c cord not perform standard things like charging on a thunderbolt device?

    Never had an iphone, just wondering. Both of our new phones (2 years ago) have usb-c
    [/QUOTE]
    USB is a mess.

    Thunderbolt 3 ~can~ use the same plug as USB-C, and all Thunderbolt 3 ports work with USB devices, but not all USB-C supports Thunderbolt devices.

    TB3 supports up to 100W bidirectional power. USB varies based on the protocol and is “up to” 100W.

  15. 2 gold plated dots.
    Standard is for charging .
    Need standard size and mandatory replaceable batteries.
    Time to get serious about these things.

  16. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 39575, member: 1041″]
    I read about this last year, but didn’t save the links. So, here is the first hit on Google.

    [URL unfurl=”true”][URL]https://debugger.medium.com/wireless-charging-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-48afdde70ed9[/URL][/URL]
    [/QUOTE]

    I wanted to stop reading this article once I hit this part

    “so much so that the widespread adoption of this technology could necessitate the construction of dozens of new power plants around the world. ”

    But I am gonna continue to read it. However, building entire power plants around the world to power A CELL PHONE WIRELESS? LMAO Yeah, because these things use up so much power charging them. /sarcasm

    Continuing to read now… perhaps they mean if other devices that use a lot more power start using wireless power technology? [I]Maybe[/I] that could negate that ridiculous claim.

    ” Charging the phone from completely dead to 100% using a cable took an average of 14.26 watt-hours (Wh). Using a wireless charger took, on average, 21.01 Wh. ”

    Yep… confirmed. 21.01 Wh per phone will cause the world to build dozens more Power plants to charge them. :rolleyes:

    Yeah, I gave up on reading that article. Such bullcrap.

    Also, 47% more isn’t double the juice.

    With that being said, I switched to wireless charging almost exclusively. I’ve had FAR more problems with charging ports not working after a while of use that I now charge my Pixel 3 XL with a wireless charger next to my bed as well as a wireless charger in my Jeep. I’ve had maybe 2 – 3 times over the past year woke up to an almost dead phone because it wasn’t sitting on the charging pad properly. I’d take that [I]nuisance[/I] any day over literally not being able to charge the phone because the port is broken and forcing me to replace the port ($$$) or buy a new phone (again, $$$) vs having to bring a charger with me to charge it for an hour.

  17. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 39744, member: 137″]
    Yep… confirmed. 21.01 Wh per phone will cause the world to build dozens more Power plants to charge them. :rolleyes:
    [/QUOTE]
    That was a bit of hyperbolic (my word of the day) scarebait from the green enviromental section of the choir.

    I mean, if you multiply it by … 365 days for a year. And multiply that by … 4.8B or so smart phones in use around the world… you get a really big number. But it’s probably a lot less than the amount of energy wasted by a lot of other everyday things. And it’s making a whole lot of assumptions to get to a really big number.

  18. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 39749, member: 96″]
    That was a bit of hyperbolic (my word of the day) scarebait from the green enviromental section of the choir.

    I mean, if you multiply it by … 365 days for a year. And multiply that by … 4.8B or so smart phones in use around the world… you get a really big number. But it’s probably a lot less than the amount of energy wasted by a lot of other everyday things. And it’s making a whole lot of assumptions to get to a really big number.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah, I read the rest of the article. I seen where they claimed if all 3.5B phones in the world suddenly switched to wireless charging. You know, because last year there was 0 phones in the world. :rolleyes:

    Wonder how many power plants had to be built in the last 30 years JUST to charge cell phones with a cord. :rolleyes:

  19. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 39751, member: 137″]
    Yeah, I read the rest of the article. I seen where they claimed if all 3.5B phones in the world suddenly switched to wireless charging. You know, because last year there was 0 phones in the world. :rolleyes:

    Wonder how many power plants had to be built in the last 30 years JUST to charge cell phones with a cord. :rolleyes:
    [/QUOTE]
    I’ve worked in the Energy sector for a long time. I’ve found that every time you find a way to increase efficiency – LED lights, motion sensors, variable speed drives, whatever you want… After you implement it – your energy use always goes up.

    A lot of people come back and say — Hey, you said this would save us XYZ and $$$. And it did, you just ran it longer, or plugged in three times as many of them as you had before, or your production went up by %% because of the increased efficiency.

    So yeah – to power the 3.5B smart phones listed in the article, we installed around 150 Million solar panels. Most of those in China. That represents about 10% of all the solar installed in the world. Just for smart phones.

  20. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 39755, member: 96″]
    I’ve worked in the Energy sector for a long time. I’ve found that every time you find a way to increase efficiency – LED lights, motion sensors, variable speed drives, whatever you want… After you implement it – your energy use always goes up.

    A lot of people come back and say — Hey, you said this would save us XYZ and $$$. And it did, you just ran it longer, or plugged in three times as many of them as you had before, or your production went up by %% because of the increased efficiency.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah, save power on LED lights, but at the same time TVs are super cheap so let’s put one in all the bedrooms now. Or that awesome Keurig machine we just bought.

  21. I don’t particularly care about that individual article, but I do care about efficiency when running Pis for distributed computing. There is no particular reason I’m aware of that prevents a usb c power brick from being as efficient as a titanium power supply. The fact I have to put up with 80% efficient is annoying on principal in addition to taking a chunk out of my points per watt.

    as for wireless Qi charging my phone, I personally don’t find it any more convenient. I can plug in a lightning cable in less time than I can align the charger, and I’m pretty sure getting that hot while charging is not very good for the battery in general.

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