After years of wrangling, there will be one type of charger for all phones across the EU by Autumn 2024.
The European Parliament today agreed that all devices will have to use a USB-C type charger.
The new rules apply to all small and medium devices including:
- Computer mice
- Portable navigation devices
- Digital cameras
- Headphones and headsets
- Handheld videogame consoles
- Portable speakers
Laptops have been given an extra 40 months to make the change.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly said the changes have been a long time coming.
“Apple have been dragging their heels and causing the biggest barriers to this coming into place.
“Initially they were saying this was going to cause massive disruption to consumers. Then they were saying it was going to put a halt to innovation by having a universal charger.
“However, they’ve lost the battle on this one so by the Autumn of 2024, every small and medium device will have a universal charger. So, whether that’s a camera, your headphones, a tablet, they’ll all have the USB-C type.
“Then, laptops have been given an extra 40 months to get on board. So, by 2026 - in an ideal world - we’ll all be using USB-C.”
Under the new rules, the European Commission has also been empowered to develop “delegated act” to ensure ongoing interoperability as wireless charging becomes more common.
Jess said wireless charging could be the norm by the time the new rules come into force.
From a water-protection point of view - from a whole range of points of view - it makes sense to get rid of the charging port altogether,” she said.
“That would then put the onus on every consumer to go out and get a wireless charger which is obviously not ideal – but I think, bit by bit, by 2024, we could all have them anyway.
“So, this could be a big hoopla over nothing.”
The EU said the new rules aim to make products more sustainable, reduce electronic waste, and make consumers’ lives easier.
Since consumers will now be able to use their old chargers with new devices, they will no longer be obliged to purchase a charger with their new device.
Meanwhile, charging speeds will be harmonised for all devices that support fast charging, ensuring consumers can charge their devices at the same speed with any charger.
Companies will also be obliged to offer customers clear information on the charging characteristics of new devices.
The EU said the changes will save European consumers up to €250m a year on unnecessary charger purchases.
Meanwhile, the changes will lead to a major reduction I ne-waste.
The EU said disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to account for about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste every year.
The new rules still have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and Council after the summer recess.
Once this happens, they will be formally published in the EU Official Journal.
They will come into force 20 days after this date and will be applied 24 months later – in 2024.
The new rules will not apply to products placed on the market before the date of application.