European Union member states and legislators have approved to mandate a USB Type-C charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras, a move that is likely to affect smartphones globally.
According to the agreement, the devices are expected to comply from late 2024. It will not apply to products released before the new rules come into force.
The EU believes a standard cable for all devices will reduce thousands of tonnes of electronic waste.
The European Union is home to 450 million people, some of the world’s richest consumers of such devices.
Currently, the users of iPhones and Android phones use different chargers for their devices. IPhone is charged from a Lightning cable while Android-based devices are powered using USB-C connectors.
Half the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29 percent had a USB-C connector and 21 percent a Lightning connector, according to a 2019 study by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.
Thierry Breton, the EU industry chief says the deal will bring around 250 million euros ($267m) of savings to consumers of the devices.
“It will also allow new technologies such as wireless charging to emerge and to mature without letting innovation become a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience,” he said.
The European Commission had initially pushed for a single mobile charging port more than a decade ago, but companies failed to agree on a common solution.
Apple, which already uses USB-C connectors on some of its iPads and laptop computers, has insisted any legislation to force a universal charger for all mobiles in the bloc is unnecessary.
IPhone argues such a move would slow innovation and create more pollution.
The EU legislators said the shift will save both the “resources” and the “nerves” of those living in the bloc.
“After a decade, finally one standard (USB-C) will charge them all,” Anna Cavazzini, a German member of the European Parliament for the Green Party, tweeted.
Laptops will have to comply with the legislation within 40 months of it taking effect. The fact the deal also covers e-readers, ear buds and other technologies will mean Samsung, Huawei and other device makers are also affected.