Europe to Have One Charger for All Mobile Phones, Global Standard Next?

by: - Last updated on: March 14th, 2014

Back in December, last year, we told you that a universal laptop charger standard was in the cards for this year and now we’re hearing reports that the European Union wants to cut down electronic clutter by obliging OEMs to adopt an universal charger for mobile phones and tablets, as well. This way, you won’t have to ditch your previous charger whenever you buy a new one. And, to be frank, not all of us are that conscious and decide to recycle, so it all turns out to be electronic waste which puts in big danger our environment.

universal phone charger

The picture from above shows my personal “riches” that I’m about to recycle this weekend. For the last 5 years, it seems that I have managed to “collect” around 8 different chargers. And I’m sure that the average person has had at least 3 chargers since mobile phones have appeared. But this could change starting with 2017, as the European Union has voted in favor of a draft legislation which lists among the “essential requirements” of electrical devices approved by the EU a compatibility with “universal” chargers. According to a German MEP, this move will eliminate 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste:

The modernised Radio Equipment Directive is an efficient tool to prevent interference between different radio equipment devices. I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger. This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment. It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually

The draft law was approved by an overwhelming majority of 550 votes to 12. It stipulates that the ability to work with common chargers will be an essential requirement for the making companies. Apparently, there’s already a proposed design for the upcoming universal charger and, as expected, it uses a Micro USB connector. The majority of mobile manufacturers, like Samsung and Nokia already use one, so the shift to an universal charger shouldn’t be that tedious.

Another obvious advantage of an universal mobile phone charger standard will be the fact that whenever your phone battery will go flat and you won’t be nowhere near home, you will just ask your friend or somebody else to help you out. And if we’ll see this turn into reality by 2017, then the move will extend to other parts of the world. However, there are voices which disagree with the move – Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s deputy leader, said the following:

This is a backwards step because imposing a single charger stifles innovation, curbs research, and may impose extra costs on the consumer. The alternative and better action is to encourage diversity, competition and greater development. The EU is hamstrung by the ideology of one-size-fits-all, be it economic policy, currency, fisheries policy and now even phone chargers. The UKIP alternative is to allow diversity to flourish and let the consumer, not the legislator or regulator decide.

I wonder if mister Nuttall currently owns an iPhone, because Apple’s charger and cables are known to be different than the rest. At the moment, according to estimates, there are around 30 different types of charger on the market, but manufacturers have two years at their disposal to get ready for the new restriction.

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  1. As much as this is annoying, the “solution” causes more damage than the problem.

    Innovation will cease since innovation is now prohibited.

    Way to go Europeans. And you say “Americans are stupid”. Right back at you a%%holes without brains.

    1. Are you kidding me? Everything has already settled on 5v micro USB, except Apple. Innovation is not creating your own connector with some random voltage and amperage to force customers to buy your massively overpriced proprietary charger that is garbage the moment you buy something else. My 5v 2.1a micro usb charger charges all my devices. I have power outlets with usb charging ports on them… after 15-20 years the industry finally came to a consensus. Anything else is going backwards.

      Im guessing you swing with the crowd that uses the lightning connector.

      1. No, I do not. I use a nexus 5. Last time I checked, micro USB.

        But unfortunately, here’s the issue.

        You idiots want to to force other people to do things the way you want them done.

        I say that’s tyrannical and people like that almost deserve to be shot. (At the very least, electroshock therapy would be a good idea…)

        Fck off and get out of my life a$$holes. Let me use whatever charger I want. If I want a 120 volt charger, I should be able to get one. And this applies to other people as well. FCK OFF.

        Get over your damn selfishness and LEAVE OTHER PEOPLE FCKING ALONE.

        There is no sense in this. You’re a bunch of fcking idiots. Yes I’ll repeat it, the majority IS STUPID.

        Now for don joe, this may SEEM like a good idea. But the fact is a lawyer does not do brain surgery. Nor does the majority do computer part manufacturing, so they shouldn’t be setting standards.

        So again, fck off you a$$holes and idiots.

        1. Actually entities such as BSI and DS (organisations that make recommendations to government) collaborate with private companies and technical groups in order to reach concensus. Its takes time to find the standard but eventually we all agree. Imagine, without standards your computer would not be able to communicate with the same server that my computer is communicating with now and would wouldn’t be able to have this delightful conversation.

          1. Non sequitur. Standards and government mandated standards are two VERY different things.

            Unfortunately it seems you don’t know enough about IP, TCP, and HTTP to know this.

            Imagine if the government made HTML 1.0 a legal standard. There would be NO HTML 5, since it would illegal to not use HTML 1.0!

            Idiots. My computer can very well do without your damn standards. It works just fine doing what I tell it to, the way I tell it to.

          2. Hi, the link you posted ends up being irrelevant, as most of your (scores?) are for software. This is more of a hardware issue, and if the government introduces a standard, it doesn’t directly prohibit improvements on said standard. Innovation is thereby not discouraged, which makes your scenario flop. Put it this way, if the government mandates that all screens must be LCD, perhaps we wouldn’t get some different, newer, more efficient type of screen, but what we would have is newer more efficient LCD screens. In other words, it’s better to have everyone improving on the same thing. You could also say that if the government had mandated the incandescent light bulb, we wouldn’t have the fluorescent bulb. What I would say in return is “not necessarily”.

          3. Untrue. GCC has non-standard features. It still works.
            I can do anything I want without standards.

          4. Nobody called you names, if you look back, you’re the one who started flipping out and throwing big words in comments without actually knowing what it means. Calling this communism only proves that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Troll harder?.

          5. Point: I don’t need to be required by law to implement HTML in order to implement it.

        2. Baaahahaha! Tyrannical? Electroshock? Wow, you sure are passionate about your non standard chargers! I think you need to put the whisky down before you post on the interwebs though.


          1. I don’t use non standard chargers. Again, I’m micro usb.

            But I’m also able to see the /moral aspects/ and /utter stupidity/ of this.

            It’s a VERY BAD ATTITUIDE towards innovation. And it ends in ruin every time it’s tried. This is reminiscent of communism’s “trebby”.

            Also I’m not drunk. It’s more that I don’t care how I come across since I know I’m right, end of story. Call me an a$$hole if you want, but I don’t give a shit.

          2. I don’t use non standard chargers. Again, I’m micro usb.

            But I’m also able to see the /moral aspects/ and /utter stupidity/ of this.

            It’s a VERY BAD ATTITUIDE towards innovation. And it ends in ruin every time it’s tried. This is reminiscent of communism’s “trebby”.

            Also I’m not drunk. It’s more that I don’t care how I come across since I know I’m right, end of story. Call me an a**hole if you want, but I don’t give a s***.

          3. I recommended electro-shock as a half serious joke. Electroshock therapy can help with these kinds of delusional thought patterns and may even improve intelligence, but obviously we shouldn’t /force/ anyone to undergo that.

            Key word, /force/. Freedom my friends, is more valuable than life.

        3. Do you actually understand how technology works?

          You are aware that standardization drives innovation forward, right?

          Also, do you really think EU legislators are defining the standard themselves? They are requiring it by law, it is up to the industry to decide upon what it entails… why would the legislators bother to concern themselves with details they have no understanding of?

          You clearly have no understanding of this article’s subject, and have no reason to be angry other than your own ignorance.

          1. Ah. Standards drive innovation? No, untrue. They just make things more convenient IN THE SHORT TERM.

            My understanding. I’m fluent in C, C++ including 11, JavaScript, Linux Administration, and I use EMACS for god sake. Check my scorecard @ smarterer daht com slash r_p_nicholl

            before you launch any more ad honiem attacks.

            I scored a perfect score on the C++ test too (800).

            I’ve also made my own limited purpose application specific programming language.

          2. They make things more convenient, so that further innovation is more efficient. For example, without standards we wouldn’t have the internet we do today, and without that it’s impossible to even imagine all the innovations that would not exist…

            Your programming credentials have absolutely no bearing on this subject matter. They prove nothing. Though, bear in mind that all the languages you have listed are standardized and maintained by official bodies.

          3. Good job getting all those merits, nothing fancy bout thm though. But still education is to be respected. Now all you got left is to educate yourself on how to debate, how to be polite, and yes how not to be arrogant and atleast read and understand other ppl’s point while giving out your point as well. I don’t blame you, maybe its your standard quality education that is limiting your thought process right?

            Trolls have way too much time, I still don’t navy them.

        4. I know very little about all this, although it sure sounds like a good idea to me.

          Regardless of whether you are right or wrong Ryan, I’ll bet your parents would be proud to read your post.

      1. This is the divide between being right and thinking you are right.

        The world can believe the earth is flat, doesn’t make it true.