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EU says it could swap USB-C for a better standard (Updated: Here's how)

Update: A European Parliament representative has detailed what would happen in the event of a newer standard emerging.
October 19, 2021
Apple iPhone 13 bottom edge
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • The EU has denied that its new common charger proposal would hamper innovation.
  • An MEP said the proposal would allow for the adoption of a standard that’s better than USB-C.
  • The MEP’s office later said that there would be a transition period in the event of a newer standard emerging.

Update: October 19, 2021 (5:10 AM ET): An MEP denied last week that the EU’s proposal to adopt USB-C as the standard charging port would hamper innovation, saying they could “adapt the rules” if a newer standard emerges. Now, the MEP’s office has clarified this stance in a statement to Android Authority.

“At the moment, USB type-C is a technology that has been chosen as a common standard. However, standardization organizations and industry can develop other technologies that provide better quality charging and data transfer,” a European Parliament representative noted in response to an emailed query, adding that there’ll be a transition period for the industry and consumers.

“We will have a natural phase-out that will not make swiftly obsolete the devices in the market (sic),” the representative explained.

Original article: October 15, 2021 (8:52 AM ET): The EU announced a proposal last month that would force all gadget makers to adopt USB-C as the standard port for charging. This isn’t much of a problem for Android brands, as they already use USB-C ports on most of their phones. Apple, on the other hand, uses a Lightning port for charging iPhones and claimed at the time that the proposal would stifle innovation.

Now, the EU has poured cold water on Apple’s claims, saying that the proposal takes better standards into account as well.

“I don’t see it [stifling innovation – ed],” MEP and consumer protection committee chair Anna Cavazzini was quoted as saying. “The proposal states that if a new standard emerges that is better than USB-C, we can adapt the rules.”

Related: The best USB-C cables worth buying

It’s not immediately clear how the proposal would take a better standard into account, but it stands to reason that a phased switch to the new standard from USB-C would be on the cards. We’ve emailed European Parliament representatives to clarify matters and will update the article accordingly. In any event, it’s clear that there is a provision for a better charging standard.

This isn’t the first time the EU has moved to assuage concerns over the new proposal though. A spokesperson told The Verge last month that devices exclusively charging wirelessly wouldn’t require a USB-C port.