Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Europe looks to force smartphones to use USB-C

Image copyright AP

The European Commission has pledged to force smartphone manufacturers to use USB-C cables so that they recharge devices rather than using old-style Lightning connectors.

The Commission, which is the European Union’s executive body, wants to promote the use of digital and plug-free devices to reduce power consumption.

“No one uses USB-C to charge a smartphone. We’re ready to take a technological lead, and to be champions in the field of e-mobility,” said Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic.

With the European Commission’s backing, he called on EU Member States and EU member states’ co-operation to ensure that smartphone manufacturers support this change.

It’s not the first time the Commission has tried to force technology firms to adopt USB-C as a way of transmitting data.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged electronics makers and public authorities, two years ago, to make USB-C the standard for communication devices across the world.

Image copyright The Verge Image caption The move would help cut the number of power cables associated with smartphones, the EU claims

But in October, the Commission bowed to industry lobbying and decided not to force manufacturers to use USB-C cables.

However, in January, it called for companies to use the new connector on future devices – after claiming that the lack of charge-output technology was responsible for polluting rivers, contributing to noise pollution and causing other environmental problems.

The Commission said charging devices via USB-C would be “decisive” for the future of the EU.

However, USB-C’s relatively new status as a feature-rich connector has not deterred those who want to keep using their older devices.

Long-time supporters of Lightning connector such as Samsung, Google and Apple, continue to use it on new devices.

There is some concern from EU member states about the effects of deploying an EU-wide standard such as USB-C on overseas manufacturers.

Mr Sefcovic said he hoped to make the new EU position “the basis for international cooperation” on the matter.

Electronics manufacturers are now drafting responses to the Commission.

A Whitehall source told the BBC that Business Secretary Greg Clark is concerned that the new EU position would lead to further innovations from foreign manufacturers, who will then seek to override the EU.

“We are not looking to make Europe the most important market for the rest of the world.

“We are worried about the impact this policy could have on other markets and the impact on employees”

The EU document does not set a deadline for when manufacturers must start adopting USB-C.

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