Why it matters: Members of the European Parliament are interested in drafting legislation that would require mobile devices of all makes and models to support a single charging standard. The idea is that a universal charger would make consumers’ lives easier and also reduce waste. According to a cited estimate, old chargers generate 51,000 metric tons of electronic waste per year.
As outlined in a recent newsletter posted on the European Parliament’s website, the 2014 Radio Equipment Directive called for a common charger to be developed that would fit all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices.
The Commission ultimately “encouraged” the industry to adopt change but that hands-off approach has not yet produced the desired results.
The truth is, most decent Android phones have already switched to a unified standard in USB-C. The few remaining stragglers that still use something like micro-USB largely do so for cost-cutting measures. But should such legislation pass, the company with the most at stake would be Apple as its line of iPhones continue to utilize the proprietary Lightning connector.
Of course, timing could make all of this a moot point. Apple is largely expected to move away from the Lightning connector in the not-too-distant future, perhaps as early as 2021. There’s even talk of port-free Apple devices that could rely solely on wireless charging but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
The newsletter adds that we should expect a resolution in a forthcoming plenary session.