back to article EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has lost patience with phone makers insisting on using different connector designs for charging, and promised an impact study on the consumer pain that Lightning and USB causes. Vestager confirmed the policy in a Parliament Answer this month. In 2011, in response to pressure from the …

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          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: EU Standard plug

            The best bit is that using plug covers actually makes things MORE dangerous.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: EU Standard plug

            >Take that, Brexit!

            But if the EU mandated it, that would be the EU dictating to the UK and we can't have any of that now can we - forward Brexiteers!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "safest in the world"

          Just because UK allows very unsafe circuit designs - so the plug needs to cope with them. I prefer safer circuits that don't depend on a plug...

          1. NateGee

            Re: "safest in the world"

            Evidence?

            1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              Re: "safest in the world"

              Link 1

              Link 2

              Link 3

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "safest in the world"

                Read the links - sort of a crash course in biased, sloppy analysis, weren't they?

                Something better than puff pieces pandering to British egos would be more useful - these three would all get failing grades in any risk analysis exercise. Not one of them looked at the things that can go wrong in the British wiring scheme, nor did any of them address the potential problems with overly high household voltages.

        2. 6491wm

          Re: EU Standard plug

          second most painful after Lego surely?

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: EU Standard plug

            Lego doesn't even come close, and don't call me Shirley.

          2. Caffeinated Sponge

            Re: EU Standard plug

            “second most painful after Lego surely?”

            I kind of don’t understand this part of the argument. I’ve never stood on an upturned 3pin mains plug. I’d argue that if this is an occurrence frequent enough to be a problem then probably standards of basic tidiness are probably more in order. Or you could just look where you are putting your feet. Of course, if this is a workplace then both are already covered by H&S.

            To be completely honest, the cable durability part is looking pretty shakey too given third party options that will outlast several phones and I’m not even going near the bit about enforcing a plug shape standard and then arbitrarily deciding not to wire half the pins with no external way to tell. Optionally disable data at the device is a far better idea.

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: EU Standard plug

            Second most painful after standing on THIS: http://www.internationalconfig.com/prod_shot/53326.jpg

            It's not just the animals trying to kill you in Australia.

        3. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: EU Standard plug

          > Also the most painful thing in the world to stand on.

          Oh, I don't know. Sometimes I think it's a close run thing with a Lego brick.

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: EU Standard plug

          "Would that be a reference to the 3 pin plug, which is the safest in the world? Also the most painful thing in the world to stand on."

          That's a the added bonus feature. It teaches people not to leave potentially dangerous mains leads laying around where they may get damaged and later cause death or injury from damaged plugs or insulation. :-)

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: EU Standard plug

          Which three pin plug? There are a lot of them...

          The one you find in every Walmart in Texas is probably the best design.

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: EU Standard plug

        That happens when you let Germans design a plug

        SCART = "Syndicat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs", so I think you might be pissing on the wrong bank of the Rhine, there.

        For a standard developed in 1970, it proved to be extremely far-sighted: particularly in standardising a method for direct RGB input to TVs, something which only became useful in the late 1980s for home computers, and really only hit the broader consumer market in the late 1990s when Digital TV and DVD became popular.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: EU Standard plug

          "so I think you might be pissing on the wrong bank of the Rhine, there."

          Except the French call it Péritel... (correctly Péritélévision, but that's a mouthful that nobody says)

        2. defiler Silver badge

          Re: EU Standard plug

          For a standard developed in 1970, it proved to be extremely far-sighted: particularly in standardising a method for direct RGB input to TVs,

          Yep. It's still the go-to connector for hooking up old videogames consoles for collectors. Everything up to the Xbox/PS2/Dreamcast/N64 era. As they said about Volvos in Crazy People "They're boxy but they're good". Pain in the arse to put through a wall though. SCART, not Volvos - they're pretty straightforward.

          1. defiler Silver badge

            Re: EU Standard plug

            Pain in the arse to put through a wall though. SCART, not Volvos - they're pretty straightforward.

            Risking ire by replying to myself, but I actually had to push a SCART through a partition wall today. Had to disassemble the connectors on both ends. It was an enormous pain in the area, and I'd have been easier threading a Volvo 440 through the damn wall.

            Still, Dreamcast is up, so it's not all bad!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: EU Standard plug

          SCART .....For a standard developed in 1970, it proved to be extremely far-sighted:

          It also proved unsurprisingly bulky and inconvenient, with a ludicrous cable thickness, and difficult to attach and detach, presumably because the French designer expected it to be hand-soldered by the terminally clumsy (like me).

          When you look at the shortcomings of so many different connector designs, you can only logically conclude that they are almost all designed by people who don't know the intended use, and who apparently have no experience of the problem that their product is supposed to address. Just like like car park designers, road engineers, web designers, and the people who create alarm clock and heating thermostat interfaces.

          For all these people, I hope there is a specially reserved circle of hell.

        4. NLCSGRV

          Re: EU Standard plug

          It may have been far-sighted, but not far-sighted enough to include any form of retaining mechanism, like that on the old Centronics plugs.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: EU Standard plug

        The solution is obviously for the UK to unplug from the EU and maybe mandate US standards.

        "It's up to the commercial end of the industry to agree on easy to understand labels, and the regional bureaucratic blocks (like the EU) to enforce them. So Apple would certify that its plug and cable support 'Blue speeds', for example. Wouldn't that be handy?"

        Industry is like the free market: it can only work successfully under severe and expensive government regulation and oversight. It's like Microsoft or Intel: it creates pseudostandards like Win32 or PCI at best'.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: EU Standard plug

      USB-C is more SCART-like than you realise. It's got power, USB data, Thunderbolt, and three display methods (HDMI, MHL, and DisplayPort).

      Or maybe some of them, depending on the devices at both ends and the cable.

    2. Evil Scot

      Re: EU Standard plug

      JP21?

      Mechanically same as Scart... Electrically not.

    3. andy 103

      Re: EU Standard plug

      Still using the SCART input on my TV and not even remotely sorry about that.

      1. Pedigree-Pete
        Happy

        Re: SCART input on my TV

        Me too Andy. I need it for my VCR/DVD combi. Back to the Future Doc. PP

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EU Standard plug

      Yes, SCART sucked, but it wasn’t that much worse than anything else from the same technological era (eg, parallel port printer connectors).

      It’s perhaps a little unfair to compare it to USB or HDMI, etc.

  1. nuked

    Isn't all charging going to be wireless within a generation or two anyway? Seems like a useful conversation, but a decade too late as usual.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "Isn't all charging going to be wireless within a generation or two anyway?"

      I hope not. Wireless charging is very wasteful of power.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Not to mention murder on the batteries because of the inherent heat issues.

  2. Ochib

    To later

    What does this matter to the UK, as of March 2019 we can tell the EU to go whistle

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: To later

      What does this matter to the UK, as of March 2019 we can tell the EU to go whistle

      Yeah, because ignoring standards is such a good idea.

      Let's have a British USB specification, which does what WE want, no matter that it doesn't match the rest of the world.

      1. Ochib

        Re: To later

        "Let's have a British USB specification, which does what WE want, no matter that it doesn't match the rest of the world"

        I thought that was the purpose of the vote to rid ourselves of our EU overlords, so we could go it alone and get £750m for the NHS per week

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: To later

          I thought that was the purpose of the vote to rid ourselves of our EU overlords, so we could go it alone and get £750m for the NHS per week

          And cake, don't forget the cake!

          @alister I think you might have ignored the possibility of sarcasm in the original post. The list of standards that the UK, if it ever leaves the EU, that it can replace with its own and then try and force on the world is long, and growing.

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: To later

            @Charlie Clark

            @alister I think you might have ignored the possibility of sarcasm in the original post.

            Yes, sadly. However, going by the number of downvotes the OP is collecting, it appears I am not alone...

            :)

            1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

              Re: To later

              My downvote was for the unnecessary Brexit related trolling, sarcasm or otherwise.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: To later

                My downvote was for the unnecessary Brexit related trolling, sarcasm or otherwise.

                You're right. Over two years since the referendum result and there is still no idea what Brexit is or how to achieve it. The Unicorn-based nonsense is a parody of and in itself and no additional trolling or sarcasm is necessary.

        2. PerlyKing
          FAIL

          Re: £750m for the NHS per week

          Get your facts right - it's £350M per week ;-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £750m for the NHS per week

            It was adjusted for inflation....

          2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: £750m for the NHS per week

            "Get your facts right - it's £350M per week ;-)"

            To be fair, it was never a fact.

            1. EnviableOne Bronze badge

              Re: £750m for the NHS per week

              I believe the current figure for the brexit "dividend" is some where in the region of 20-40m a week

              taking into account the rebate(loss) and currently commited payments, and agencies we want to pay to play in .....

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £750m for the NHS per week

            "Get your facts right - it's £350M per week ;-)"

            my random number is better than your random number :)

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: To later

          @Ochib, I think you might be missing this icon -->

        4. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge

          Re: To later

          You would have to design British connectors that don't look lke USB. A pentagonal shape like the Englsh rose would be a good start - you can make it rose-coloured too - and you need a new name, such as BSU (Bidirectional Socket of the UK).

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: To later

        Let's have a British USB specification, which does what WE want

        And while we're at it, we'll colour it passport blue. That will make everything right.

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: To later

          And while we're at it, we'll colour it passport blue. That will make everything right.

          Bloody hell that make me so proud I could weep!

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: To later

        Let's have a British USB specification, which does what WE want, no matter that it doesn't match the rest of the world.

        We can call it USB-Stupid.

      4. adam 40

        The BSU lead!

        "Let's have a British USB specification, which does what WE want, no matter that it doesn't match the rest of the world"

        Yeah let's call it the BSU connector. It should have 3 pins not 4. And a fuse. Bring back the British Standards institute too. Brexit forever!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To later

      What what old chap. At one time the sun never set on the British Empire, that's about to change.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: To later

        @ac >>At one time the sun never set on the British Empire, that's about to change.<<

        It still doesn't set (just), the crown dependencies & overseas territories are quite well spread around the globe, now as it's past gin o'clock toodle pip

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: To later

        "At one time the sun never set on the British Empire, that's about to change."

        Erm, that did change - a very long time ago.

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