updated 08:55 pm EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
Manufacturers could be forced to use single connector for charging in EU by 2017
The European Parliament has voted to proceed with proposals to require smartphones and mobile devices to use a single common charger. The new draft law was approved by 550 votes to 12 on Thursday, with 8 abstentions by European parliament members (MEPs), with the vote itself bringing the new regulation closer to being implemented in European Union member states in the future.
The law will still need approval by Europe's council of ministers before being passed to member states, reports the BBC, though the council has already voiced approval, and suggests it will most likely pass without issue. If accepted, member states will have until 2016 to sign it into law, followed by a 12-month grace period where manufacturers must switch over to the standard connector.
The rules will not only govern mobile phones, but also other radio-based equipment, such as GPS units and wireless door openers. While the final choice of connection has yet to be finalized, it is believed that Micro USB will be used under the law, something which a vast majority of smartphone and tablet manufacturers already use. This could lead to Apple either making a change in the design of its devices destined for sale in Europe, or coming up with a work-around to appease the law.
The proposals do have a point, aside from helping consumers avoid confusion, by also helping to protect the environment. "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," advised MEP Barbara Weiler, adding that aspects of the modernized Radio Equipment Directive will help prevent interference between radio-based devices.