Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Aug 2018 22:40 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

EU regulators plan to study whether there is a need for action in the push for a common mobile phone charger following a lack of progress by phone makers towards this goal, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

Many phone makers voluntarily promised to standardize chargers, and while a lot of progress has been made, the EU isn't satisfied - so, they're now thinking of making it mandatory. This would mostly affect Apple, since that's the only major holdout still using a non-standard, proprietary port.

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It's a good thing
by oblivious on Wed 8th Aug 2018 07:34 UTC
oblivious
Member since:
2016-03-21

I think this is a good thing.

Even IF lightning is "a better" port than USB even Apple is doing USB on their new machines.

So they should standardise on port,cable and power so I can just plugin anything I want.

And they should make it mandatory for laptops/mobile as well.

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's a good thing
by avgalen on Wed 8th Aug 2018 08:34 UTC in reply to "It's a good thing"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

I just changed from a 5 year old Nokia phone with Windows 10 Mobile and Micro-USB to a new phone with Android and USB-C. It included a charger in the box which really shouldn't be included but should be sold separately to save the environment. All I need in my house and car was to replace the usb-wire and I was good to go. The same could be said for iPhones and iPads or my wifes USB-C phone+charger...Just make it 5 Euro cheaper and sell the (universal) charger for 5 Euro

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It's a good thing
by vault on Wed 8th Aug 2018 10:53 UTC in reply to "RE: It's a good thing"
vault Member since:
2005-09-15

Unfortunately it won't be any cheaper without the charger. Few companies will pass those savings on to consumers.

I also think Apple would rather remove the port completely and move to inductive than switch to USB-C.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: It's a good thing
by avgalen on Wed 8th Aug 2018 11:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's a good thing"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Unfortunately it won't be any cheaper without the charger. Few companies will pass those savings on to consumers.

That would be the sad reality indeed. Prices will always be "399,-" and not 394,-. So instead a required "if you want a charger, here is a coupon for 5 Euro or a charger" in the box?

I also think Apple would rather remove the port completely and move to inductive than switch to USB-C.

Every OEM would rather do that because it makes design easier, more attractive, waterproof, cheaper and you can sell wireless charging pads with a very high margin. In reality those pads are too rare, inefficient, space-consuming, expensive, incompatible to be common, but that might change in the next few years

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: It's a good thing
by TheForumTroll on Wed 8th Aug 2018 13:08 UTC in reply to "RE: It's a good thing"
TheForumTroll Member since:
2018-04-28

That wont work. At least not as intended. The reason for a standard for chargers isn't just USB-C vs. Lightning etc. It is as much the amount of power. If you use your old charger with a USB conversion cable, it likely take up to double the amount of time to get to 100% battery. Running power intensive apps while using an old charger might even make the battery run flat...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: It's a good thing
by avgalen on Wed 8th Aug 2018 13:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's a good thing"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

That wont work. At least not as intended. The reason for a standard for chargers isn't just USB-C vs. Lightning etc. It is as much the amount of power.
No it isn't. The EU proposals were purely for "saving the environment" and for "improving exchangability/borrowing from coworkers" purposes. The intention of the EU (good experience for everyone) is different from the manufacturers (best experience for you)
If you use your old charger with a USB conversion cable, it likely take up to double the amount of time to get to 100% battery.
Sure, but your total absorbed power wouldn't differ much. The environment doesn't pay per second, just per Energy. And being able to charge slowly is still much better than not being able to charge at all due to incompatible chargers.
Running power intensive apps while using an old charger might even make the battery run flat...
This happens on some USB-C-chargers for laptops while running very CPU/GPU intensive tasks, but not on phones/tablets.

I do understand that there is a market for "I want to supercharge my phone I 30 minutes", so of course there should be a market for those kind of chargers. But "for the greater good" I support this idea from the EU. It sounds like all the manufacturers agreed (theoretically) as well, but once money/sales got involved they chose not to do it

Reply Score: 4

Big problem...
by darknexus on Wed 8th Aug 2018 15:51 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

I can see how this will go if implemented, though I don't expect this to be any more successful than the EU's attempt to enforce Micro USB as the standard.
1. EU mandates USB type C and power requirements.
2. Phone makers comply, except for Apple who will fight it and will, with enough money paid, get an exemption.
3. USB C evolves, or a new standard arises, which does not comply with EU standards. EU gets pissed.
4. Phones now have to carry two ports just to comply with EU.
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4...
The problem with enforcing standardization is that it will always limit innovation. If the original attempt to standardize on Micro USB had been implemented, we would not have USB type C now. I'm getting tired of the EU politicians regulating what they do not understand. I'm not saying we don't need any regulation at all, however such things should be regulated by those who actually understand the technology and the issues at hand, not overpaid bureaucrats who couldn't find their face with their own fist to smack themselves. It irritates me, even though I'm not in the EU, because it will affect everyone given enough time. Even if the U.S doesn't copycat this crap, OEMs will cut costs by basically pushing the EU crap on the rest of us.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Big problem...
by ssokolow on Wed 8th Aug 2018 17:49 UTC in reply to "Big problem..."
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

*nod*

It'd be much better to add some kind of standardization requirement for charging ports based not on a specific port type, but on the port meeting some metric for minimum degree of standardization and the charging process not requiring any specialty licensing fees to implement.

Then, Type-C would have been allowed to supplant USB Micro as long as the phone doesn't pull any proprietary trickery for attaining the maximum charging rate. (Possibly requiring some kind of industry commitment to collectively migrate to Type-C over the course of a given migration window.)

(Essentially, something half-way between mandating a specific connector and mandating second- and third-source suppliers for the chargers like IBM did with Intel x86 CPUs back in the day.)

Edited 2018-08-08 17:58 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Big problem...
by darknexus on Fri 10th Aug 2018 12:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Big problem..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Yes, this would be the way to go. You have to be careful how you word such a regulation even so, but this is the line the EU should have taken.

Reply Score: 1

This is stupid.
by atsureki on Wed 8th Aug 2018 20:07 UTC
atsureki
Member since:
2006-03-12

Every mobile phone can charge off of a powered USB type A or type C port, which are ubiquitous

There are three different things that might be at the other end of the cable, but so what -- the cable came with your phone, and anything-to-anything adapters are readily available. The conductors and the current they carry are universally, mutually compatible.

The modern situation is absolutely nothing like the flip-phone dark ages when every phone had its own, proprietary multi-pin or barrel plug soldered directly to a non-standard DC voltage adapter, and replacements, spares, or car adapters could only be found at specialty shops, and you could never be completely certain they worked with your model or were from a trustworthy manufacturer.

The industry has standardized, on this fancy new thing called USB. It's not 100% end-to-end conformity, but it solves 100% of the problems we had in 1999~2009 that would have raised this topic among regulators in the first place.

Reply Score: 1

RE: This is stupid.
by CaptainN- on Wed 8th Aug 2018 20:43 UTC in reply to "This is stupid."
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

It isn't that simple - there are a few different competing "rapid charge" standards. Even if you have the right plug, you may not get the same performance. There needs to be some standardization. Really, USB-C Solves most of that, but it's rollout has been tremendously slow for some reason (I haven't looked closely at why - would probably make a good article).

Reply Score: 4

RE: This is stupid.
by BlueofRainbow on Thu 9th Aug 2018 12:55 UTC in reply to "This is stupid."
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

As you mentioned, for the last decade or so, the recharging of non-Apple mobile phone has standardized on a 5 V DC power supply with a USB Type A port and a USB Type A to micro-USB cable. The cable it-self can be used for data transfer with a computer or a tablet supporting OTG.

Two developments are changing this landscape:

- USB Type C connector

- Fast charging

One problem is that there are still wrinkles in the standardization of the USB Type C connection in terms of auto-detection signals.

Another problem is that standardization of fast charging voltages and currents is still in progress so that a power supply for one brand of mobile phone may not fast recharge a mobile phone from another manufacturer.

Incidentally, for the last decade, one could carry a single USB cable (Type A to micro-USB) with the notebook and be able to recharge the phone or tablet if/when needed. It is still possible to do this - with an appropriate Type C cable for the newer devices albeit in the non-fast mode associated with a 5 V supply. And as usual, an additional cable would be needed for recharging Apple devices.

Unfortunately for the consumers, the USB Type A port on notebooks is being replaced - often by a Type C port and sometimes by other proprietary ports.

The chatter about EU Regulators looking at another round of standardization of charging devices - physical port and supply voltage/current for fast charging - maybe sufficient to steer manufacturer on this path.

Reply Score: 3

Apple should switch now
by CaptainN- on Wed 8th Aug 2018 20:42 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

Really, Apple should have switched to USB-C the moment it arrived - but they had only just released lightening. I get the idea that it's time to retire the old 8mm headphone jack, but they replaced it with lightening. It used to be that I could use my earbuds on my phone, and my mac (or PC, etc.) because they all had the same port. But now, iPhone has lightening, and macs (and PCs) don't. This is crappy self inflicted idiocy. The proper solution is to implement USB-C on iPhone, and then there's no longer a problem. USB-C headphones everywhere would become a thing, and we can all sleep happily at night.

Reply Score: 1

gus3
Member since:
2010-09-02

I can't find a reference to it now (I think it was 2004 or 2005), but I remember reading Japan mandated USB for mobile devices, for charging & data transfer purposes, also to combat the proliferation of proprietary connectors. Can someone clarify, or refute?

Reply Score: 2

v Comment by jigzat
by jigzat on Thu 9th Aug 2018 03:25 UTC