Back in 2010, we asked “Why did it take so long” for mobile manufacturers and European legislators to agree on a universal mobile phone charger. Little did we know. Now, four years later, the European Parliament is still struggling to push through the new law. A new draft of the Radio Equipment Directive has been voted on by MEPs, which renews efforts to introduce such a charger.
It calls for a “common charger” for mobile phones, which would “simplify their use and reduce unnecessary waste and cost.” The amendment adds equipment must work with these common chargers, although the European Commission will decide which devices will fall under the new rules.
Unsurprisingly, none of this will come into force tomorrow, and the estimate is we’ve got another two years before the draft bill becomes law. Even then, manufacturers will have a further 12 months before they actually need to follow the rule. We began talking about a microUSB-based universal charger back in 2009, so adding another three years to the time we’ve already waited is fitting.
That said, manufacturers and some networks have already stepped up their own efforts to cut down on the amount of chargers in the wild. The Motorola Moto G comes with a microUSB cable, but no wall adaptor, and O2 sold the HTC One without a charger. To ensure it meets existing legislation, Apple sells a microUSB adaptor for its own, proprietary Lightning cable charging system.