samsung galaxy s4 active aa usb cover

While most mobile devices today ship with the same microUSB battery charger, at least in Europe, where the EU insisted a few years ago that manufacturers comply with this particular demand, it appears that’s not enough for the European parliament.

A new EU law will be soon signed, and it will require all companies that sell mobile devices in the region to use the same standard battery charger. While it’s not clear what the standard will be, we’re most likely looking at microUSB chargers for the future, no matter what generation they’ll be – just recently, we heard that a new, reversible microUSB connector is going to replace the current one, so we would assume that’s going to be the new standard.

So far, there’s a provisional agreement on the common charger, which will likely be signed into law next March. From then on, EU members will have two years to adapt local laws, while manufacturers will get an additional year to comply.

The move, whose scope is to limit the “unnecessary waste and cost for consumers,” may negatively affect Apple, which has its own charger for mobile devices, the Lightning that replaced last year the old 30-pin dock connector. It’s unclear at this time whether Apple will be allowed to offer European customers adapters with their new iOS device purchases or whether it’ll have to change ports on the devices it sells in Europe.

Android device makers will probably be largely unaffected by the EU’s new proposed law, as many of the current devices already sell bundled with microUSB chargers.

  • MadCowOnAStick

    oooh apple burnnnn

    • Shark Bait

      Mmmm smells good, apple finally being made to adopt a standard_!

  • RanRu

    Oh God yes!

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    How about the “unnecessary waste and costs for constituents”. EU should worry more about taxing less than trying to make every industry lean. Are they gonna mandate three pickles per burger next?!

    • Thang Fozika

      Android device makers will probably be largely unaffected by the EU’s new proposed law, as many of the current devices already sell bundled with microUSB chargers.

      • Guest

        wow. . . you are taking spam to a new level.

      • Lisandro O Oocks

        Oh I know. What if Apple’s ends up being the standard? Don’t forget the Micro-SIM was their idea

  • Android FTW!

  • TjaldidTjaldid

    I have no idea why an Ipod or Iphone require a proprietary charger when they have such small batteries I can understand it for tablets but not for the smaller devices

    • Because Apple…

      • TjaldidTjaldid

        Apple is God all hail Apple.

        Hail Apple…

        Hail Apple…

        Hail Apple,

        wir mussen die Android aus rotten

  • monkey god

    Apple could just release a USB wall charger that accepts their lightning connector cable. While the cable is still proprietary, the charger itself is standard. Problem solved?

    • melhiore

      No, device it self must have microUSB connector.

      • monkey god

        From what I can gather from the details of the article, it does not mention the connector of the device. The article only mentions that the device must use a common battery charger. This does not necessarily mean that the connection to the phone must be the same.

  • Jusephe

    So Apple will just stop seling lightning and 30-pin devices in EU… And people will break all that glass on the EU parliament with rocks one day, for making such incredibly silly laws like this.

    • Mario Busso

      silly? since microusb standardization i don’t have to take my charger with me, because i’m pretty shure that my friends have a micro usb cable or charger in their home, bag ( expecially girls) etc.. and if apple stops selling their cables it will lose more market, here in italy WP has gained more marketshare than iOS..
      This is not US.

  • Android Developer

    now we have the micro USB2 as the most popular standard.
    what about the reversible connector and the USB3 ?
    it will take ages till most devices use those standards, no?

    also, i don’t get how apple manages to sell their products in EU if they don’t have any standard connectors…

    • apianist16

      Right. I am not an Apple fan, yet this is complete stupidity. Forcing Apple to sell adapters for all their devices will add to the cost of their devices and increase “e-waste”, with the end result that people think Apple is more expensive and not worth the trouble. And in reality, Thunderbolt is a much better solution than USB 2.0. It is reversible, smaller, and much higher I/O speeds. Enforcing this law means all those benefits are now gone in the name of helping the people. Don’t these lawmakers have better things to do with their time?

      • Android Developer

        this law is against progress, but it’s also a good thing that many devices use the same connector (less waste), so i have no idea how to get both advantages without any disadvantages.

        • apianist16

          If the government really cared about the people, they would let the people and free market work things out, and not force the OEMs to change things because they thought it would be better.

          • Android Developer

            buy you’ve seen how it worked before – there was chaos of so many chargers and connectors. even the USB had multiple ways to be connected.
            the problem was so annoying that a new product was created to support all connectors, by having them all on it.
            this is ridiculous . see this:

            this was only for greed, as they all were limited to a simple USB port. none of them actually had an advantage over the others, other than maybe a nicer design.

            There were so many times people asked if others have a charger for cellphone X , where you have cellphone Y. this problem has almost disappeared, with just apple having a standard of its own and others have the micro-USB …
            the question now is how to go further to a better connector. i guess it becomes harder and harder to make the USB still be backward compatible.

          • apianist16

            Right. You’ve hit the nail on the head. The market has figured out that all those connectors are just a hassle and don’t add anything to the value of the product and so most of them have got on board the micro-USB bandwagon. Just the free market working out some kinks, that’s all. No need for the government to step in and say one way or the other. On the other hand, different standards are a sign of a healthy and competing market. Apple’s Lightning connector has advantages over USB, and USB over Lightning. There never will be a “perfect” connector. Technology will keep paving the way for new standards, etc. Which is why the government standardizing connector technology is stupid and totally unnecessary.

          • Android Developer

            but wasn’t the law already there for europe , for at least the recent year? wasn’t it another reason why there is practically no other connectors?

          • apianist16

            I’m not sure. I’m unaware of any such a thing, but then again, I don’t live in Europe. Here in the US, virtually every single smartphone and even most feature phones use USB, without the help of the government. If you have a link to an article about this previous law, I would be glad to read it.


            Apparently only fourteen companies were included in the previous regulation and that they agreed to it. This overarching regulation that forces everyone to comply is what I have a problem with.

          • Android Developer

            there are many articles about it, and it was on 2010 i think.

            if you search for “europe usb standard”, you will find some articles, like this one:

            it’s the major cellphone manufacturers, so i think it changed the rest of the world.
            what i don’t understand is what’s the new law . is it for all companies now?

          • apianist16

            Yeah, this new law encompasses everybody. And that’s the main reason that I have a problem with it. There was no discussion with the companies prior, no nothing. Before, the government approached the companies and got them to agree on a standard, and then they wrote the regulation. With this, the government just decided that this is the way it’s going to be now, for everyone. That’s what I have a problem with.

            BTW, stuff like GPS and mp3 players in the US all use USB as well, without government regulations.

          • Android Developer

            well a standard is good for the end users, yet it slows down the progress. it’s always like that.
            just look at how hard it is for non-fuel based engines to get popular. it’s hard to make a change.

            i do wonder though about USB3. i’ve read somewhere that it can have a relatively high voltage (or something else? i’m not an electricity expert) , meaning it can replace many cables of regular products and not just electronics.

          • apianist16

            Sure, I agree that standards are good. However, I would rather that companies would come together and form them without government pressure. For example, the Qi wireless charging standard and a few others. USB is a good all around connector, which is why it is being adopted by everyone anyway. Having USB as the standard, however does slow down progress and innovation, since nobody really wants to upset the apple cart.

          • Android Developer

            since i have no idea how good is apple’s connectors, i can’t say anything bad about its technicalities .
            i only know that they’ve changed it from iphone 4s to 5 , and that has left many products to be irrelevant unless you have a large, pricey adapter (30$ or so).
            in fact, i think all of their connectors are already much more expensive than USB connectors, even the original ones…

          • apianist16

            Apple’s connectors have advantages (better I/O speeds, being reversible) and disadvantages (being proprietary and more expensive). USB itself is a standard created and upheld by the free market (like Qi). And yes, if technology is to progress, connectors will become outdated and need to be replaced with something better. The old 30-pin connector that Apple used was aging and in need of replacement, so Apple changed it. Just a natural progression of technology. I don’t think anybody would argue that the old connector was better than Lightning.

          • Android Developer

            sure, but apple didn’t think ( or cared) about backward compatibility, so all products that were counting on this connector are useless now…

            at least for USB they have some kind of backward compatibility…

          • apianist16

            I’m sure they considered it, but I mean, come on, that connector was such a beast. They improved on it so much that I guess backward compatibility wasn’t an option, the technology was just so different. Old technology can only be made backwards compatible for so long. For example, the new micro-USB standard will be reversible, meaning it will not be compatible with prior connectors. However, I am sure that it’s benefits will far outweigh that snag.

          • Android Developer

            i know, but that’s what i’ve thought of the old connector from the beginning – it was so huge, even compared to a PC USB connector. I have no idea why they made it so large and take a large space on the smartphone bottom itself.

            again, they didn’t think about backward compatibility, otherwise they would’ve made it much smaller and being able to withstand next generations. instead, they’ve used it for many iphone and ipad models till iphone 5 came.

  • Luka Mlinar

    Finally a finger to Apple after that Obama veto. Hey Obama, how do you like them apples?

  • DKJr

    About time! Maybe now reduce mobile prices by the small amount for charger so that consumer can opt out.

  • Chris

    No more iPhones for Europe ;-)

  • Keg Man

    Can a euro guy confirm. I thought I read that apple phones in EU already came with a usb adaptor to comply with this (what I thought was law already)/request to have universal adaptor.

    • Jeff Moreira

      Nope, it doesn’t. At least not in UK.

      • Guest

        Nope, it doesn’t. At least not in SE Europe (Croatia). :-)

  • A Googler

    Fantastic about bloody time!

  • GJV

    But how will Apple gouge consumers for more e-waste, er, I mean “accesories.”

  • abazigal

    Knowing Apple, it will probably get away with just bundling a lightning to USB cable with each IOS device.

    • apianist16

      Get away??

  • Anon

    I love the smell of fascism in the morning. /facepalm

    • g0vt_h00ker

      Because regulations on chargers have something to do with fascism… right

      • apianist16

        The government giving itself authority to do what is has no business doing can indeed lead to fascism.

        • H. Q.

          Sorta like when the U. S. gave itself the right for pre-emptive strikes? ie we think you’re going to do something even without credible evidence that you will but we’re paranoid you might, so we’re going to bomb the cr*p out of you?

          OK I see.