EU agrees on standardised chargers

An end to cable clutter is in sight: negotiators from the EU Parliament and member states have agreed on the introduction of standardised chargers for small and medium-sized portable devices in the EU. USB Type-C chargers will become the common charging point for all mobile phones, tablets and digital cameras. The new regulation is to apply as of mid-2024. A progressive decision?

Open/close all quotes
The Spectator (GB) /

This will lead to ossifification of technology

The decision highlights the EU's obsession with regulations, says The Spectator:

“The problem with over-legislating for standards is that it stifles innovation and leads to ossification of technology in our lives. Just imagine that you were compelled still to use the charger that came with your first phone, 25 years ago. Would you enjoy carrying that around, even if it would charge your phone, laptop and Kindle? Like so many things, chargers have shrunk in size and weight as manufacturers have improved them. They have experimented with new connections, new adapters, new plugs. Could that have happened, or happened so easily, had the EU legislated for a standard charger in, say, 1999?”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Regulations don't trigger innovation

The regulation is superfluous, the Süddeutsche Zeitung argues:

“In any event there are only three systems today, and soon there will only be two: the type of cable that everyone except Apple uses and which will now become standard (for the savvy: with the USB Type-C port) - and the one that Apple uses (Lightning). Notice anything? The fact is that the problem has more or less solved itself. ... Innovations that make life simpler and the world better are seldom the result of strict guidelines put out by a planning authority. They originate in companies and through interaction with consumers - even if it's simply on the question of which charging cable is provided and used - and which is not.”