EU adopt USB Type-C for all chargers from 2024

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There are a bewildering array of phone and electronics power adaptors and it seems whenever you need one, or get a new device, you never have the correct cable to charge it. The EU want to change that to have one single USB Type-C charger for frequently used small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.

This has been a while in the making, but we now know that by autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU and yes that is intended to include Apple devices.

Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer. Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements 40 months later.

The EU says that the new obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to 250 million euro a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.

Thanks to Brexit, this new EU ruling doesn’t apply to the UK and so far there are no signs that the UK government will follow suit, although potentially the rules could apply to Northern Ireland. The reality however is that most manufactures are global and no one is going to make a UK only device – chances are high we’ll all be buying devices with USB Type-C.

This does mean that those who have made a living selling cables and adaptors may find their businesses severely impacted. Not only will the requirements for odd cables reduce over time as older devices eventually die, but once they have USB Type-C connectors consumers will be able to share them between devices.

There is the question as to what manufacturers who don’t like USB for various reasons (a good one is the physical size). It’s more than possible we’ll start to see devices with no charging port at all with the expectation that consumers will happily adopt wireless charging and do away with cables entirely.


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