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EU decides on uniform USB-C ports

An end to tangled cables: In the EU, there will be a standard charging socket for numerous devices in the future. Right up until the last minute, there was wrangling over which devices besides cell phones would be affected.

Cell phones and numerous other electrical devices in the EU must have a standard charging socket from mid-2024. Negotiators from the EU states and the European Parliament agreed on USB-C as the standard charging socket, as the head of the negotiations, Anna Cavazzini (Greens), said in Strasbourg. Here’s what you need to know now about the unified USB-C ports.

Which devices will be affected?

According to Cavazzini, the regulation applies to smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones and portable speakers, for example, which should work uniformly with USB-C in the future. The French presidency also confirmed an agreement.

In addition, the Parliament had been able to push through in the negotiations that, for example, laptops, e-readers, keyboards and computer mice, navigation systems, smartwatches and electronic toys would also be included, as long as the devices are large enough for a corresponding connection. For laptops, however, there would be a longer transition period. It will also be possible to buy the device and charger as well as charging cables separately in the future, he said.

New law will not apply until mid-2024

The EU states, on the other hand, had achieved in the negotiations that the new law for uniform USB-C connections would not apply until mid-2024. The parliament had wanted the rules to come into force earlier. Both the EU countries and the European Parliament still have to formally approve the agreement. But that is considered a formality.

The Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) welcomed the outcome of the negotiations: “The best waste is still that which is not produced in the first place.” The plan saves resources and consumers’ nerves, a spokesman said. The companies organized in the VKU are responsible for waste disposal, among other things.

Long struggle for uniform USB-C connectors

There has been a long struggle for legal requirements for charging cables . More than ten years ago, the Commission first brought the charging cable issue to the forefront. 14 manufacturers – the most notable of which is Apple – agreed on a uniform standard for cell phone power adapters in a voluntary commitment. For the sockets in smartphones and tablet computers, three types of once several dozen remain: USB-C, Apple’s Lightning connector and Micro-USB.

According to the EU Commission, the regulation could save nearly 1,000 tons of electronic waste. Currently, an estimated 11,000 tons of e-waste is generated annually by disposed and unused chargers. However, critics fear that the EU approach could come to naught, as old chargers could no longer be used and USB-C has become increasingly popular as a standard for electrical devices in the past anyway.


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