EU wants to require all smartphones to have a ‘common charger’

Many smartphones released nowadays come with USB-C, making it easy to share the same charger between multiple devices. There are still some phones that ship with other types of cables, though, and the European Union wants to change that.

EU lawmakers announced this week that it to require all smartphones to use “a common charger.” This charger would be used for all mobile phones as well as tablets, e-book readers, and other portable devices, the group says.

While the exact charger that would be used isn’t explicitly mentioned, USB-C seems the likeliest option given that it’s reversible and is newer than the microUSB and Lightning connectors on the market.

Not only would having the same charger on all phones make things easier for consumers, the EU lawmakers argue that it would help to reduce waste as well. It’s estimated that old chargers generate more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste every year.

The EU actually called for a common charger for all mobile phones back in 2014. Obviously that didn’t end up happening, though, because while the number of phones using USB-C has grown over the years, there are still many phones and other devices that ship with a microUSB connector while Apple sells its iPhone models with a Lightning connector.

A vote on this matter by the EU lawmakers will happen at a later date. 

Switching all smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to USB-C would help to reduce waste and costs for both consumers and manufacturers. If the change did happen, consumers could use a single charger for multiple devices, meaning manufacturers wouldn’t need to include a charger with every device they sell. Whether or not this EU mandate actually happens remains to be seen, but even if a rule is made, at least one major smartphone maker may have started moving to a completely port-less phone.

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