Sunday, December 29, 2013

EU common charger for all mobiles/tablets

Members of the European Parliament have presented a persuasive first stage plan, based upon reduction of waste and consumer easy for charger migration when changing to a new handset, to the Council of Members for the need for a universal charger for all new mobiles sold into the EU.

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment (COM(2012)0584 – C7-0333/2012 – 2012/0283(COD))
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

In accordance with the amendment to Article 2(3) of the proposed Directive.
Amendment 3

"appropriate type throughout the Union may be necessary. Interoperability between radio equipment and accessories such as chargers simplify use of radio equipment and reduce unnecessary waste."

"throughout the Union is necessary in some cases. Interoperability between radio equipment and accessories such as chargers simplifies use of radio equipment, reduces unnecessary waste and costs. A renewed effort to develop a common charger would therefore be highly desirable and consequently be beneficial in particular for consumers and other end-users."

If the further proposed stages receive approval the timescale envisaged to introduce a universal charger common to all new mobile phones could be available on the market by 2017 at the earliest. That is because members states will be given two years to transpose the new directive into local legislation.

Of course, the technical realisation needs to be transformed into an approved technical standard. Some years ago the EU approved micro-USB for use with smart phones. However, as the EU has yet to (a) decide the which standard will be ratified for the proposed universal charger; (b) given there has been technology advances since the earlier approval for use of micro-USB; (c) mobile tablets etc have also proliferated in the marketplace; the directive would need to cover these too, as would the Directive's need to have applicablity to other forms of radio equipment using a charger supplied into the EU for consumer use.

Of the various connector types it could be the universal charger connector may come in several guises. Two that come to mind are Apple's Lightning connector and the new type-C connector USB3.1 recently annouce by the USB Standards Group. Both would already be in the marketplace before the two-year deadline has expired.

Apple's Lightning connector

USB Standards Group type-C connector USB 3.1

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