The EU has proposed USB-C as a charging terminal standard.  (Source = EPA Association)

“iPhone? Galaxy?” You don’t have to ask… EU passes charger unification bill ‘in front of your eyes’

The EU has proposed USB-C as a charging terminal standard. (Source = EPA Association)

The European Union (EU) is expected to introduce a law to unify charger types such as smartphones to ‘USB-C’. For example, the charging port of Samsung Galaxy series smartphones is USB-C type.

On April 21 (local time), the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Commission (IMCO) in the EU passed the ‘Amendment to the Wireless Equipment Directive’ by a 42 to 2 vote. The amendment will be submitted to the plenary session of the European Parliament and will be voted on as early as next month. The EU has been pushing for ‘unification of charger standards’ for many years, but this is the first time that a bill has actually been made and passed.

The amendment would force all mobile device chargers sold in Europe to be USB-C. This includes not only smartphones, but also tablet PCs, digital cameras, and headphones. If implemented, the amendment will apply to electronic products sold in 30 countries in the European single market. If Europe, with a population of 450 million, adopts USB-C as its standard, it is expected to become the de facto standard for charging terminals in the global smartphone market.

The reasons for promoting unification of charger standards are ‘environmental protection’ and ‘user convenience’. According to a survey by the EU Commission, more than 500 million chargers are launched in Europe every year, resulting in an e-waste of up to 13,000 tons. In a press release, IMCO explained the reason, “If the charger specifications are unified, consumers will not have to buy a new charger and cable together when purchasing a new device.”

Apple has been strongly opposed to IMCO’s decision. In September 2021, the EU IMCO demanded that the smartphone charging port be unified with USB-C, but at this time, Apple, using its own ‘Lightning’ charging port, expressed strong dissatisfaction, saying that this was intended to regulate Apple.

At the time, Apple said through a spokesperson, “Strict regulations requiring only one type of terminal (USB-C) can hinder innovation rather than encourage innovation. Rather, there is a risk that e-waste will increase.”

However, the handset manufacturing industry insists that Apple’s claims are not convincing. Apple’s iPad (iPAD) series has already switched to USB-C because it cannot handle data transfer through the Lightning terminal, because only the iPhone (iPHONE) series seems to stick to the Lightning terminal. Also, since the Lightning terminal is weaker to shock and has a shorter lifespan than USB-C, if Apple is genuinely concerned about electronic waste, it is correct to use a stronger and more stable USB-C terminal.

[이병권 인턴기자]

[ⓒ 매일경제 &, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]

Leave A Comment