Europe Plans Law to Give All Phones Same Charger


As usual government hacks don’t understand technology nor free or capitalistic markets. Many phones already use the same couple cable types. Let the market and technological progress decide the cables used. And before someone says I support companies monopolizing charging cables, that’s not what I’m saying either.


It is unclear what precisely has been adopted, and when it would take effect.

Members of the European Parliament voted by 582-40 for a resolution urging the European Commission, which drafts EU laws, to ensure that EU consumers are no longer obliged to buy new chargers with each new device.

OK, so it’s only “urging”, we have no idea whether or what the EC will come up with by way of law, hence no idea of when it would take effect and what it would mandate.


This really ought to be in Round Table but …

Waste is an example of market failure. Companies can procure whatever resources they need at market price, sell to consumers at market price, and when the item is no longer needed, it becomes waste - that the company does not pay for the disposal of, and nor is it priced into the transaction at any stage (so also not paid for by the consumer).

Consumption of finite resources could also be construed as an example of market failure. While the market may price well the use of the resource at the time of procurement, it does not and cannot price well the resource on an NPV basis. In other words, there is a far future opportunity cost in not having any of chemical element X left that is in practice impossible to quantify.

Roughly speaking, these are examples of externalities - where society as a whole is bearing a cost that is not accounted for let alone compensated for by the company that makes the profit.

If we are going to let the market decide, here is an alternative resource consumption model. The company buys the resource from society on a leasehold basis, it uses the resource to manufacture an item, makes a profit selling it to the consumer … but when the item is no longer needed, the consumer gives it back to the company, who must deconstruct the item and return the resources to the society, in order to satisfy the terms of the lease.

(One obvious problem with this is that the company may have ceased to exist or be insolvent by the time the item is given back by the consumer. Indeed this model may encourage phoenixing - and in any case would be difficult to enforce in a world of global trade.)


A noble goal to be sure but as you point out this is a society problem. And while I agree that would be a solution, you would have to have an entire world on board with returning said cables to said company. More or less I simply mean that the best tool for the job (in this case a cable/port standard) should decide what most products ought to be utilizing.


It’s fine for you to say that - I understood your position - but I am disagreeing with you - because when the manufacturer or the consumer makes that decision while being able to force costs onto a third party, the third party’s interests are not represented in the transaction. The market makes the right decision to create the best tool for the job but not necessarily the right decision taking into account the wider considerations e.g. the interests of the third party who does not benefit at all from how good the tool is for the job.

Incidentally I don’t disagree with the point that this may well be anti-innovation and that this will be distortionery on technology.

What I want to know is whether it will still be legal to sell non-compliant chargers for phones that were manufactured before the new law (if there is one) comes into force. If not then it could increase waste by forcing people to throw out perfectly good phones because they can’t be charged any more because the charger has died even though the phone still works.


There may well be some merit in standardising on wireless charging - because then we may be able to break the nexus between data connectivity and charging. That has two benefits.

  1. the security benefit
  2. data connectivity standards are more likely to change more dramatically over time. Noone could believe that USB-C as a connector or USB 4 is the last word in USB standards, or data connectivity more generally.


That begets this (Please forgive the link to that which should not be named).


European Parliament is not executive body, so they cannot enforce anything. They adopt either directives - to be executed by local member-countries end-to-end (whatever way they think is appropriate), or resolutions - to be executed by european comission (which consists of member-state government representatives - again to enforce on local level).

They urge to enforce the policy of common charging adapter by July’20. They do not name what that adapter should be or how enforcement should be made locally. Which means by July’20 local member-states need to come up with the enforcement method which again may take time.


July 2020 is pretty much absurd though, isn’t it? That’s 5 months away and there’s no specification for manufacturers to design to, implement and test, and then push through their logistics chain.

If this goes wireless, maybe phone manufacturers will ship phones with a gadget that allows the phone (that only has wired charging) to be charged wirelessly - when the gadget is plugged into the phone’s charging port and used with a wireless charger (supplied). :slight_smile:

Wouldn’t give Purism any margin for error with the L5 either (Evergreen batch). :frowning:


They are not going to come up with some new standard, that was the whole reason for almost 10 years lead-time comming to this point. There were various consultations, feed-back forms, memorandums of understanding and cooperation. And then the goal - to reduce e-waste. the only way to reduce it is to adopt already most-widely-spread standard as a common. anything else will lead to increase of the e-waste.


I was concerned about:

  1. Points out that the use of wireless charging technology entails additional potential benefits such as mitigating e-waste; highlights that many mobile telephones already use wireless charging methods and that fragmentation in this area should be avoided; calls, therefore, on the Commission to take measures to best ensure the interoperability of different wireless chargers with different mobile radio equipment;

They could of course have two standards, one for wired and one for wireless but that would partly undermine the goal of this proposal.

They appear to have walked back a little from “all portable devices” to “mobile radio equipment, including mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers, smart cameras, wearable electronics and other small or medium-sized electronic devices” … so the way I interpret that is that digital cameras that do NOT have radio capability (i.e. basically that do not have WiFi) would be exempt … but who knows.

So that could mean that Bluetooth earpieces have to have the same capability as an iPhone doing wireless charging.


They wouldn’t spend $$$ to make a new charging port, the amount of R&D that goes into making the cable fail before the port does, manufacturing cost, connection reliability, tolerance, etc is not something the government wants to do. Is it collectivist crap if all the companies collectively developed USB standards? Because that’s what they did. They wont force companies to use type a because it’s an old spec, type c has more capability and likely the companies lobbied for this because more companies use USB rather than apple’s proprietary port.

Also I wouldn’t dismiss collectivism or individualism, because all humans rely on the collective we currently know as a society (yes we live in a society insert shitty zoomer meme here), and the collective cannot be pleased without also pleasing the individuals within it. Free software is collectivism for software, and yet it gives individuals the most freedom. And the same will be true when RISC V becomes a viable option, Competition isn’t always the best option (although it can be a good option), sometimes collaboration is; and free software is a testament to that. Collectivism and individualism aren’t at odds with each-other. If you take the previous positions you’ve stated on this forum to their logical conclusion, you have anarchism. And anarchism doesn’t pick a side, it lets people organize society however they want.

Having every phone use type c is more efficient economically too because economies of scale make products cheaper and allows factories otherwise making shitty lighting ports to be used for something that actually brings value to society. Understand that, just like Proprietary software subjugates and controls it’s users, so does proprietary hardware. It forces consumers to pay a licensing fee.


Not at all, it’s actually improves it a lot as not being focused on single solution. Wireless is not applicable for all use-cases and wired could be too cumbersome for small devices. So adopting both would cover majority of the bases, and then you just need to enforce charger which would support both - to avoid multiplying not only cables but also chargers. But that most probably will have longer transition time than cables.


hey but copper is a material that’s quite up there with the other recyclable materials and quite valuable … the problem is purifying it and selling it as a higher quality product …


Are you proposing moving to silver conductors with gold plating contacts to remove residual circuit resistance and contact oxidation, as result reduce waste heat/energy and longevity of the power supply components? :wink:


lol . for the professional audio-industry maybe :wink:


Copper was the critical raw material in Atlas Shrugged in South American mining, do we need a Ragnar Danneskjold to sink the copper transports and drive the price up?


don’t tempt him …


Good idea - but does such a thing exist? If not, is it going to exist by July?

Is there already an open standard for wireless charging?


The wireless charging idea isn’t bad, but what if you are like me and spend long ours of the night browsing image boards in bed with your charger plugged in?

If only Tesla had more time to perfect wireless transmission of electricity. No wireless charging mat required! :smirk: