EU Committee Votes to Make All Smartphone Vendors Utilize a Standard Charger

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News Posted: Sat, Sep 28 2013 2:02 PM

The EU has been known to make a lot of odd decisions when it comes to tech, such as forcing Microsoft's hand at including a "browser wheel" with its Windows OS, but this latest decision is one I think most people will agree with. One thing that's frustrating about different smartphones is the occasional requirement to use a different charger. More frustrating is actually losing one of these chargers, and being unable to charge your phone even though you might have 8 of another charger readily available.

While this decision would cut down on this happening, the focus is to cut down on waste. On Thursday, the EU's internal market and consumer protection committee voted on forcing smartphone vendors to adopt a standard charger, which common sense would imply means micro USB, given it's already featured on the majority of smartphones out there. The major exception is Apple, which deploys a Lightning connector with its latest iPhones.

Apple already offers Lightning to micro USB cables, but again, those are only useful if you happen to own one, making a sudden loss of a charger all-the-more frustrating. While Lightning might offer some slight benefits, Apple implementing a micro USB connector instead would make situations like those a lot easier to deal with (I am sure a lot of us have multiple micro USB cables lying around).

Even though this law was a success in the initial voting, the government group must still bring the proposal to the Council which will then lead to another vote being made in the Parliament. If it does end up passing, I have a gut feeling that Apple will modify only its European models to adhere to the law, while its worldwide models will remain with the Lightning connector. Or, Apple might be able to circumvent the law if it offers to include the micro USB cable in the box, essentially shipping the phone with that connector.

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Finally..something ACTUALLY Smart about Smart phones..

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Leave it to government to sniffle innovation. Good luck improving the design now.

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Dave_HH replied on Sat, Sep 28 2013 2:39 PM

Standardization for charger connectors is a good thing. You can innovate in plenty of other areas.

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Good thing this not the US, I would assume they would not make all the phones the same. This is just like requiring HDMI on all Macbook Pros, we waste enough time making laws, let's make good ones.

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Pointless...

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How is preventing competing designs smart? Not going to see any improvements.

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I own 4 phones... 2 of our kids have a phone (Add in iPods and nooks. They go to 6 devices total), my Girlfriend has 2 phones.. I have more chargers laying about than I have power strips to plug them into...

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Only pointless if you are a single person living alone with only one phone/device.. If you have a house full (Which I do) and Multiple phones/devices (Which...we do)...

Then this makes A LOT of sense.... instead of having 16 different chargers floating around..can have 4-5 chargers, same adapter.. done.. a lot less clutter, and much less confusion.

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As for competing designs? not really much to a power adapter.. sure a lot of phones plug into usb..but still need a different adapter for each device. Computers have standardized cables/parts, why not phones? Apple would/should just suck it up/deal with it. Only company that would have a gripe with this is Apple.

Apple and their $$$$$$$.....

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QBrown replied on Sat, Sep 28 2013 3:24 PM

Everything should be using lightning cables anyway. Every device in the world orients microusb in different directions from one another, so oftentimes, plugging something in becomes a multi-try affair. The fact that the lightning cable doesn't have a set orientation for being plugged in makes it superior. But of course, since it's Apple tech, no one in the industry will jump on it. Then again, Apple takes a billion years to use the good ideas of its competitors, too.

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What? No overpriced Apple chargers and imitation, barely-working ripoffs? Travesty!

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ECouts replied on Sat, Sep 28 2013 6:52 PM

This forces a change in IOS 7. FINALLY!

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zybch replied on Tue, Oct 1 2013 5:13 AM

Really? We should all use apple's overpriced hardware copy protected cables that do NOTHING more than a micro-USB cable (at 1/100th the price) does?

Their 30-pin connector was dreadful but it at least had a purpose combining both digital and analogue inputs and outputs over a single connector. The new lightning cable offers nothing but a copy-protected micro-USB which, of course, apple forces you to pay a large premium for and only offers in too-short lengths.

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