back to article Brits may still be struck by Lightning, but EU lawmakers vote for bloc-wide common charging rules

The European Parliament has voted in favour of binding rules that would mandate the introduction of a bloc-wide common charging standard for mobile devices. The measure passed yesterday by 582 votes to 40, with 37 abstentions, and compels the European Commission to act by July 2020. The commission can choose to implement a …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Hopefully the UK will follow this

    as it is very much to the benefit of the consumer. Hopefully Boris is sane enough to not decide that the UK should not adopt this just to show that we are independent; but I'm not convinced.

    Sorry: the word 'not' appears too many times in the above sentence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

      Following Brexit, UK market phones will need to have a British Standard BS546 15amp round pin plug permanently hardwired in rubber insulated flex with red, black and green cores.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        >Following Brexit, UK market phones will need to have a British Standard BS546 15amp round pin plug permanently

        When I was little our house was wired in the old Wylex round plug non BS standard.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

          "

          When I was little our house was wired in the old Wylex round plug non BS standard.

          "

          I recall my mother ironing with the iron plugged into the kitchen light socket. It had a double adaptor so you could fit a plug and a light bulb into the same ceiling fitting.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            >iron plugged into the kitchen light socket

            Now all the lights are frugal Led we are wasting a lot of current capacity in the ceiling.

            Obvious place to plug in laptops

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

          ...and the line voltage put back up to the full-fat 240V

      2. Juan Inamillion
        Pint

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        >flex

        Have a beer for that word. Lovely.

      3. Daytona955

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        The plug must be cast in brown Bakelite. None of this Remoaner Snowflake White...

        1. AMBxx Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

          Have none of you noticed that the UK standard plug is only used in the UK. It's also supposed to be the safest design.

          1. Crypto Monad

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            > Have none of you noticed that the UK standard plug is only used in the UK

            Many countries with ex-colonial links - Kenya, Ghana, Malaysia etc - use the UK (type G) plug.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets:_British_and_related_types#International_usage_of_Type_G

            Given that equipment in these countries is generally obtained from the cheapest supplier, and may arrive with US or European (Schuko) plugs, what you mostly find is Chinese "universal" power strips which can take any sort of plug, more or less. They are one step safer than using crocodile clips.

            1. hmv Silver badge

              Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

              "They are one step safer than using crocodile clips."

              Not so sure about that; aren't crocodile clips made from decent metal with a relatively low resistance?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

                Are you sure they meant *that* kinid of crocodile clip? Maybe they meant ones involving actual live crocodiles? ;p

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            From a perspective of safety and usability I like the UK mains plug but it is over-engineered.

            1. I am the liquor

              Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

              When you can buy one for under a quid, it's hard to get very concerned about whatever slight degree of over-engineering there might be.

              One good reason for the fused UK plug design is our preference for ring mains, which are necessarily fused much higher than the current that an individual appliance flex will take. I believe other countries wire up each socket on a separately fused spur, so don't need fused plugs.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

                The biggest problem with the fused design, apart from adding to the size, is that it's useless for the vast majority of devices with insulated cases as it will never be needed.

                Otherwise: cable always at 90° to socket and built-in protection against prying fingers are winners.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

                  >The biggest problem with the fused design, apart from adding to the size, is that it's useless for the vast majority of devices with insulated cases as it will never be needed.

                  Appliances with double insulated cases don't tend to use the earth connector, they do however still use the fuse...

          3. phuzz Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            Yes, but the Danish have the happiest:

            see

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            "It's also supposed to be the safest design"

            Says someone who's clearly never stood on one! ;P

          5. mmonroe

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            I think the Australian design is safer than the UK plug. If you snap off the earth pin on a UK plug, you can (with some small effort), plug it in the wrong way around. The Australian design prevents this.

      4. seven of five

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        > hardwired in rubber insulated flex with red, black and green cores.

        certainly not. Obviously, the corr^H^H^H^Htrue colours are red, white and blue. At least until these traiterous scots betray the union and return into the EU. Then, it will be welsh green.

    2. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

      As the article says, whatever the EU mandate is likely to become the de facto standard in many other countries as it simply doesn't make sense to make multiple variations.

      Brexiteers still don't understand that. The UK is going to need to comply with so many EU regulations not only for trade with the EU but for trade with other countries that have adopted the EU regulations.

      But at least they'll have blue passports when they go on trade delegations.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        "As the article says, whatever the EU mandate is likely to become the de facto standard in many other countries as it simply doesn't make sense to make multiple variations."

        Actually, the article says that Apple is likely to make two versions of its phone, with different connectors, in order to maintain as much of its borderline extortion on accessories.

        1. NerryTutkins

          Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

          Apple perhaps, because it has a lock in on many users who are invested already in its (expensive) hardware add ons as well as Apple only services and apps they've bought. I suspect virtually every android manufacturer will ship UK customers the EU version.

          Similary with cars, the UK will essentially follow EU standards regardless. If it relaxed its crash tests, nobody is going to redesign a car that no longer meets the stricture EU ones, because it would be more expensive since they've already done that work. Equally, if the UK had more stringent crash tests than the EU, nobody would both designing cars to meet it for what is a relatively small market where the extra work would not be justified. It's going to be costly enough just to have to certify products for both markets, even if the actual standards are effectively the same so no redesigning is required. The UK will end up, in reality, effectively just doing away with its own standards body and using the EU standards.

          The alternative is to accept US standards instead. I think that much less likely, because it would be more costly to have a wholesale change from what are at present EU standards. But even if it did happen, it's still clear the UK will just be a rule taker, and not a rule maker after Brexit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            > If it relaxed its crash tests, nobody is going to redesign a car that no longer meets the stricture EU ones

            Actually the ford Mustang shipped to NZ has 2 star crash ratings because the murderous the c*nts at ford decided to save a few bucks (and because such cars can still allowed here after successful lobbying by car importers and shameful back down by the govt).

            1. EveryTime

              Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

              > Actually the ford Mustang shipped to NZ has 2 star crash ratings because the murderous the c*nts at ford decided to save a few bucks (and because such cars can still allowed here after successful lobbying by car importers and shameful back down by the govt).

              That didn't sound right, so I looked up the details.

              You wrote it as if the "Ford Mustang shipped to NZ" was different from the car sold elsewhere. It isn't. They didn't omit any parts, or cheapen the structure.

              The two star rating was in 2017 with a newly established rating system. The same car with a different branding (as a Falcon) got a four star rating when introduced under the 2013 version of the tests. Like almost every recently designed car, it probably would have gotten a 5 star rating with older tests.

              The Mustang increased to a 3 star rating in 2018, so saying "has" is somewhere between misleading and wrong.

              I'm not defending Ford here. Their older design seems to have not considered the safety of the (token?) rear seat. But your claim is neither correct nor supports your point.

          2. Lars
            Happy

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            I don'r think you need to worry about the car industry it's foreign owned and run, even Morgan was sold to Italy, and in size it's only number thirteen in the world. Car manufacturers tend to build cars to fulfil both EU and American standards at the same time, and also produce them locally as transporting cars is both slow and expensive.

          3. Lars
            Happy

            Rule makers and rule takers

            I suggest we now celebrate something as indeed it's Brexit at version 0.1

            I suggest we all lean back in our chairs and have a last look at all the so important phrases for the case now solved, Preferable with a smile.

            - Rule makers and rule takers.

            - Taking back control of borders, fishing waters, laws and money.

            Anybody who wants to add similar well used phrases.

            1. NerryTutkins

              Re: Rule makers and rule takers

              The great thing with us not being rule takers is that we're actually going to be in control of the whole world. Because we're going to be trading on WTO rules. And of course, becuase "sovrinty, innit", we're only going to be following rules that we make, so it follows logically that we must therefore be the ones making the WTO rules.

              The sunlit uplands will truly be amazing. Who'd have thought we'd have gone from having to agree common standards with our neighbours to single-handedly dictating trading rules to the rest of the world?

              We're taking back control... of the whole WORLD!

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's going to be costly enough just to have to certify products for both markets

            that's why the cars assembled in the UK and sold across the EU would have to be more expensive!

            ...

            wait, we don't assemble cars any more?! Why would that be?!

      2. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        But at least they'll have blue passports when they go on trade delegations.

        But they'll still have to use the back entrances by the dustbins. Fortunately there won't be any pettifogging nit-pickery about their invitations to Eurobashes as payback.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        "But at least they'll have blue passports" ...marked "Made in Poland"

        1. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

          Yes, by a French-Dutch company Gemalto, owned by the French multinational Thales - Resulting in the British company who were previously making them, De La Rue (OK, they sound French) laying off >250 people. That may, or may not, say something about Brexit.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

            And FWIW, many of those De La Rue redundancies were at the Washington, Tyne and Wear plant. Washington is part of the City of Sunderland, currently in the news as being the first place to declare for Brexit in the referendum and by a large margin.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

              Countries tend to get the governments they deserve…

      4. Joe Gurman

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        Hopefully not. Aside from the fact that Lightning and USB-C cables have significant other uses (and significantly better than micro USB can offer) than simply provision of DC power, the best a committee of parliamentary members does at engineering design is, well, a camel instead of a horse. Better for the micro-USB crowd to switch to Lightning, in any case, but this may well lead to Europe being isolated in their backwardness.... and insistence on legislating (against) technical progress.

        By the way, ever tried inserting a micro USB male connector in the dark?

        1. James Wilson

          Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

          Yeah, I've tried inserting a micro male connector in the dark. The wife generally isn't impressed.

          What's that? USB? Oooooh right, sorry, wrong topic, you can ignore me.

      5. Steve 114
        Go

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        There's nothing in the Agreement that stops us/BSI being non-EU members of CEN/CENELEC. But it does mean we consumers may get more choices, provided we comply (for export) with the standards of the country/bloc we choose to export to. Now can I have a 40w frosted bulb for my Anglepoise, please?

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

      Apple does not give a fig about what Boris thinks.

      They'll make their NEW phones with the connctor that makes them the most money.

      That is all that Apple cares about.

      If that is USB-C then go for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        To comply with a new ruling, all Apple will have to do is to include a USB-C to Lightning charging adapter in the box. It won't be usable for any data applications, so they can still sell you data cables - and you'll probably lose the fiddly adapter anyway.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

      Well there's not much choice is there, realistically.

      Yes, Boris and chums might be able to find time in the next 15 years or so to set up a committee to specify the new "BritPlug". But getting Apple and the like to use it would be a monumental task.

    5. adam 40 Bronze badge

      Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

      I think the British Standards Institute should be called upon to come up with something for the UK.

      Hopefully the aforementioend round pin plug....

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        >I think the British Standards Institute should be called upon to come up with something for the UK.

        What about El Reg's esteemed Standards Bureau?

    6. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

      The UK has to follow EU rules until 31/12/20 and hence this will be included. Perhaps both brexiteers AND remainers should try to keep up.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

        Only if it passes into the EU rule book before 31/12/20.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

          The fact is that such things will probably be followed for quite a time to come, not least because it means importing a lot easier and cheaper. People probably won't care about this but other EU rules that the UK decides to follow might grab more headlines.

    7. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
      Coat

      Tied up in nots

      Not really too many nots, though the sentence does not benefit from them. The first one is not right: it splits an infinitive.

    8. Steevee

      Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

      All this talk of Brexit is a total red herring, this is nothing to do with the UK "adopting" the same standards as the EU, but with Apple being pushed to finally adopt a common standard with every other manufacturer, instead of hawking their own, bespoke design. If/when Apple move to the USB-C standard, then everybody wins, regardless of what laws the UK does or does not have at the time; they are hardly going to make a UK specific model of every product with a Lightning connector just for giggles are they?

  2. magicaces

    Apple's fault

    Most manufacturers have striven to make a standard across the industry to save on costs, not rip customers off and help the environment.

    Apple on the other hand continue to charge £20 for a cable because they made it a "special" Apple one! They made $24b on accessories of all sorts because they purposely make it hard to use other products or connect their products to other devices.

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: Apple's fault

      They made $24b on cables

      Is this because their £20 cables are perhaps the only thing on the planet with a lower SLA than a Galileo positioning satellite system?

      My youngest used to have an iPod with one of those plugs and used to go through several cables a year. All the parents I knew who's kids had iAnythings said the same. If you went to the iStore and looked at the customer feedback on the cables there were thousand and thousands of 1 star ratings and bugger all else. Maybe they've made them last longer now, he stopped using the iPod so it stopped being my problem. But I did find that the cheap knock off cables on Amazon or eBay were massively more reliable. Perhaps people take more notice of the star ratings on those sites than on Apples own site.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Apple's fault

      I used to work in schools, and I had to resort to using cable ties on the lightning cables in the iPad charger trolley, as both pupils and staff would take them, and it was expensive replacing them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple's fault

        You can get Lightning cables in Poundland.

  3. batfink Silver badge

    Standards

    If one standard is good, then more must be better!

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Standards

      Yes! Just see the advantage in going to double standards.

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Standards

      Obligatory xkcd...

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Standards

      The Spanish seem keen on keeping their charging rules.

      Most think its bull

    4. James Ashton

      Re: Standards

      Standards: battle insigna or tribal totems.

  4. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    What about Britain?

    We'll be stuck with whatever the EU decides the new format will be and we will not have our say.

    Wait, have I not been writing this time and time again for the past 4 years ? Well, I enjoy writing it because it rejoices me to find first evidence of what I have been shouting for years, on BrexitDay.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about Britain?

      Britain will no doubt conceive their own standards now, and expect the rest of the world to follow.

      The IEC C13, used by nearly every PC and kettle on the planet, will be banned in favour of the new britoplug, which will be the same, but with imperial dimensions that don't quite fit existing sockets.

      1. Beau
        Happy

        Re: What about Britain?

        Never again will you have to follow the terrible EU. at all. It will be the best, the greatest! Flat pin 110/ 220V split phase, American standard, King Donald will insist!

      2. jaywin

        Re: What about Britain?

        The IEC C13, used by nearly every PC and kettle on the planet, will be banned in favour of the new britoplug, which will be the same, but with imperial dimensions that don't quite fit existing sockets.

        And it shall be known as the British Universal Technology Plug, or BUTP for short.

        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: What about Britain?

          I wasn't aware that the IEC was an EU body. Barmy Boris might not ban it if he knows it never came from Brussels.

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: What about Britain?

            I wasn't aware that the IEC was an EU body

            It's got an E in the name, that should be enough...

            1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

              Re: What about Britain?

              So's electricity, but Faraday hasn't so maybe they won't ban that after all.

      3. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: What about Britain?

        imperial dimensions

        Britain's imperial dimensions are not what they were. The plug will have somehow to appear much larger than it actually is. Should be something for our unfettered innovators to get their teeth into.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: What about Britain?

      @Hans 1

      "We'll be stuck with whatever the EU decides the new format will be and we will not have our say."

      We will be stuck with what the manufacturers choose to make. And if the EU defining such a standard pleases them then whatever. If technology moves on then the EU will have to schedule time and debate the changing of their standards as the rest of the world moves on. If that gets you excited then have at it, we all deserve our little pleasures.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: What about Britain?

      1st February 2020

      Directive No. 1 from the Office of Dominic Cummingsthe Prime Minister

      The following will be banned henceforth

      French Fries (unless relabelled as Brexit Fries)

      French Letters

      French Toast

      Swedish Massages

      Spanish Practices

      Irish Coffee

      Going Dutch

      Double Dutch and Irish Sandwiches

      Spanish Flu

      Danish Bacon

      Greek Weddings

      Greek Yoghurt

      Maltese Falcons

      Maltesers

      Swiss Bank Accounts

      Swiss Cheese

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: French Fries (unless relabelled as Brexit Fries)

        more like [not to imitate our US cousins] "FREEDOM! fries". Although this cry, in turn, reminds me of a certain movie with a Scottish nationalist theme. Oh dear, them battlecries are a true minefield...

        p.s. do we have any troops stationed north of the hadrian's wall, to keep the locals in check?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: French Fries (unless relabelled as Brexit Fries)

          p.s. do we have any troops stationed north of the hadrian's wall, to keep the locals in check?

          I thought the "3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment" are stationed there since they came back from the Khyber Pass

    4. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: What about Britain?

      Now that the UK has left the EU we can indeed have our say. We can refuse to allow imports of any product we desire if it does not meet our standards.

      So if Apple produce a lightning and a USB-C version of their overpriced status symbols then the UK can choose whether to legislate to prevent one or the other.

      It's almost as though we're an independent country capable of making our own laws. How marvellous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about Britain?

        Before this, it could have influenced the outcome of the EU to its benefit. Perhaps not total benefit, but to significant benefit.

        Indeed as you say, it can now decide to either pick what the US or the EU has decided.

        It has very little influence in the options on the menu.

        The UK has the great independence to pick what the other master chefs have put on the menu.

        Reduced to a hungry diner at the global restaurant scene, before, as part of the EU entourage, the waiters would send the UK needs to the kitchen.

        Now on their own table, with too small an entourage, the chefs and waiters can't be bothered to notice.

        But hey the UK can now dine on their own! will that be Clam chowder or Beef bourguignon...

        They better learn to be great tippers to get any attention..

        That UK treasury wallet gonna get hella lighter...

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: What about Britain?

          I can understand you choosing to post that idiocy anonymously.

          Can you and every other fearmongering clown please stop pretending that the world's sixth largest economy with strong political influences across a commonwealth of other countries. a permanent seat on the UN security council and membership of the G7 has no global voice.

          You just sound silly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What about Britain?

            >>no global voice

            Who said no voice? Much smaller voice.

            >>Fearmongering?

            None of it - maybe "pity-mongering".

            >> permanent seat on the UN security council

            short of the offer of dirty plays in the political theatre, I have no idea what use this has to economy and jobs, for you to quote this as some strength for a services economy. Of those top economies, none of the others have such a dependence on services.

            Since when did the UN decide on charging cable standards??

            >> strong political influences across a commonwealth of other countries

            Like what year do you think it is? 1970?

            An example please of the last political swing the UK secured under the auspices of the commonwealth on a suitably sized economy - Canada, Australia and so on.

            >> You just sound silly.

            You just sound silly. A bunch of non-sequitur observations pretending to be an answer.

          2. Lars
            Happy

            Re: What about Britain?

            "has no global voice.".

            Of course you have, but the question is have you increased or decreased that voice. And in your panic not to lose you voice you have indeed done just that.

            You are still dragging that one Empire leg behind you preventing you to move forward.

            And why is that, I would claim your deep problem is that you have never had to cooperate with anybody before. You had problems getting along with the Americans and the French in both wars and you still moan about it.

            Do you think Europe would be stronger without the EU in relation to the USA and China, I don't think so.

            One of the reasons the EU is a success is that nobody wants to be run by another country and the solution to that is to, cooperate, to sit around the same table.

            The English problem for some of you, is that you know you are not big enough to run it alone.

            So what are you dreaming about. Some years ago a Brit here wrote - "we still have the Commonwealth".

            But I think everybody knows that during the Spanish Empire the gold did not move from Spain to the Americas but in the opposite direction and I believe the Commonwealth countries will be rather reluctant to call you mother in that same way.

            So there you go dragging that leg.

            I have popcorn and wish you well.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: What about Britain?

              I love "One of the reasons the EU is a success is that nobody wants to be run by another country".

              The reason the EU is failing is because nobody wants to be run by another country. It's very strange that you don't appear to understand this.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What about Britain?

                The EU isn’t a country.

                It's very strange that you don't appear to understand this.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: What about Britain?

                  @AC

                  "The EU isn’t a country."

                  Remainers make this mistake too. Probably because it is the EU desire and aim to become one-

                  https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/all/2020/01/28/boffin_uk_visa_program/#c_3967153

                2. Cederic Silver badge

                  Re: What about Britain?

                  I do understand this. I also understand (as the other reply to you states) that the EU is hellbent on becoming one.

                  In the meantime, if you think people don't want to be ruled by another country, ask them how they feel about being ruled by 27 other countries.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: What about Britain?

                    Disingenuously your sentence construct implies the *other* 27 "rule". If anything the UK as one of the early members had specific privileges most of the others did not.

                    Could you give examples where the UK politicians were stopped from securing fair outcomes for the nation? They agreed to the fisheries policies in lieu for other industries, they wish to have better standards than the EU which they could have always done even in it, they had a veto on the EU, they were amongst the few countries to not impose the limits when new states came in, yet vetoed none of those, if they were that much against the will of the British people as you seem to think.

                    Illegal providing state aid is the one thing I can think of. But then a trade agreement usually includes that. Otherwise a country like China for eg utterly decimate local British industry.

                    On immigration the UK *chose* to have no controls. It is a complete irony to me that they are now talking about a points based system with a *lower* salary threshold than when we were in the EU to meet the "demand". This is worse for wage depression.

                    So an example please where UK politicians *actually* resisted something but didn't have their way under the EU. Remember that the UK is selling into that market, so it needs to be something a trade deal would guarantee, but the EU model specifically did not work.

                    1. Cederic Silver badge

                      Re: What about Britain?

                      Sigh. In 2016 David Cameron - the Prime Minister of the UK at the time, so more than merely 'a UK politician' - went to Europe and asked them for trivial changes that would barely improve things for the UK but at least let him come home and go, "See, the EU are willing to compromise."

                      The EU told him to fuck off.

                      That, all by itself, is a prime example of the EU refusing to allow the UK to determine its own rules and regulations. That, all by itself, caused enough people to vote 'Leave' for that to be the referendum outcome.

                      Incidentally, if the other 27 weren't ruling the UK at the time then who was, because it sure as fuck wasn't David fucking Cameron.

                      1. This post has been deleted by its author

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: What about Britain?

                        >> The EU told him to fuck off.

                        That how I knew to call BS - unless you wanted all the benefits and no compromise on the UK end?

                        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35622105

                        This is my reference - the response of the EU is reasonable.

                        Your emotional embellishments - "trivial changes, fuck off" speak loud and tell me you aren't likely to have assessed this factually.

                        But let's see your reference - I hope it isn't the daily mail and some Brexiteer echo chamber.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I do think that having one common connector is an advantage and should reduce waste, but only if manufacturers stop including a charger with ever new phone or else people will end up with drawers full of duplicate chargers and cables which isn’t really helping the enviroment.

    I do question how often this law should be reviewed as although USB-C is good for charging at the moment, what happens if improvements to USB standard means we have USB-D in a couple of years but phone manufacturers can't use it because the EU rules say they still need to provide USB-C and politics move much more slowly than the tech industry does.

    I mean if this law had been brought in a few years ago before USB-C was available then we would all be stuck on micro USB until the EU politicians updated the law to allow USB-C to be used.

    And on another note I would not buy a phone that did not have a wired charging facility, As I used my phone in my car as a GPS on a holder attached to my windscreen. Using the phone as a GPS is quite zapping on the battery but its not a problem at current because I can plug it into the USB socket in the car so its charging the battery as I drive. But this configuration would not work with a phone only supporting wireless charging and so I could end up with a dead battery before my journey was complete without a wired charging option.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Standards can be revised, when there are good reasons to do so. I wouldn't mind much if my phone was still micro USB-A, even if micro USB-C has some advantages.

      Yet standards could make designers think more forward knowing they can't make customers replace everything every two years.

      But I'd mandate to have chargers with removable cables so they can be fitted with a new one.

      PS: there are car holders which are wireless chargers as well. Still I think wireless charging is a waste of power.

      1. maffski

        'Standards can be revised'

        Laws not so much.

        Which is why these things are better as standards than laws.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: 'Standards can be revised'

          "'Standards can be revised'. Laws not so much. Which is why these things are better as standards than laws."

          Except Apple wasn't following the standard. Hence the law.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: 'Standards can be revised'

          >Which is why these things are better as standards than laws.

          The obvious solution is to make the law reference the CEN Standard and word it to allow for that Standard to be revised over time through the normal CEN process.

          The only issue is ensuring that companies and member nations that deviate from the Standard can be taken to court for breaking EU law. This was a factor in why many regulations such as those for Banana's were enshrined in EU law; at the UK's request, because as we know all the EU members were totally honest and always played by the rules, especially when dealing with local businesses...

          1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

            Re: 'Standards can be revised'

            Makes sense. Isn't that what's likely to happen in practice?

          2. gratou

            Re: 'Standards can be revised'

            Who's Banana?

    2. big_D Silver badge

      I agree that it should be regularly reviewed.

      At the moment, nearly all chargers are USB-A, which is an ageing standard (late 90s) and is misused by most manufacturers to push out more power than the spec says. USB-C is a more modern standard and includes a lot more power options within the standard. Certainly much more than most 'phones need, they can also power all but the highest end gaming and workstation laptops.

      If the manufacturers also extend the standard to the device end connector (I can see Apple being the holdout here), there would be less need to multiple cables as well.

      Heck, how many Apple Macs still have a USB-A connector? They dropped legacy ports, yet they provide USB-A to Lightning cables for the iPhone, which means, by their own argument, that the iPhone and iPad are legacy products.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If the manufacturers also extend the standard to the device end connector (I can see Apple being the holdout here), there would be less need to multiple cables as well.

        Except there are a plethora of different USB-C cables, with different specifications for both power delivery and data rate / protocol. They look identical but behave completely differently.

        https://blog.fosketts.net/2016/10/29/total-nightmare-usb-c-thunderbolt-3/

    3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I've been using Qi phone holders in my car for years. Works an absolute treat as it means I don't have to worry about actually plugging/unplugging the phone and the cable never gets lost or tangled.

      Admittedly before getting Qi I was using magnetic USB connectors with the cable fixed in place anyway, but the Qi version doesn't have a problem with grime on the contact points.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why state “charger”?

    At the moment, most small gadgets on the market, that would come under the legislation, already use a “standard” charger - standard in that they have a USB-A output at 5V. Non-standard in that some are slimmed down for portability and meet low current needs, whilst others have higher current outputs; also non-standard in that some have UK mains plugs whilst others have European or US (plus a few other) variants. At the moment, the only complication is the lead (Lightning, micro-USB or USB-C).

    Apple’s own leads are expensive but, for charging, there are numerous ones that are cost equivalent to the others. Besides, if you need to buy a new lead, I fail to see how a common connector will make any difference. Beyond, of course, current alternatives becoming useless and prematurely adding to the waste. Apple users tend to stick with Apple and any new standard is unlikely to mean less waste. And nobody is forced to buy Apple.

    In my experience, forcing an arbitrary standard for anything other than safety rarely delivers user benefits...

    1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Why state “charger”?

      You saved me a lot of typing. ------->

    2. MrDamage

      Re: Why state “charger”?

      > In my experience, forcing an arbitrary standard for anything other than safety rarely delivers user benefits...

      I'm sure people shopping every day for anything are glad they don't have to compare Store A's "$154.99 per hogshead" to Store B's "$187.97 per firkin"..

      We even developed standards for language, but hey, that delivered no benefits to anyone, either.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Why state “charger”?

        >We even developed standards for language, but hey, that delivered no benefits to anyone, either.

        I don't know, it has allowed for much banter across the pond; now should I be using an 's' or is it correct to use a 'z'. The laugh is that the Brit's in deciding on a Standard then decided there were words that didn't conform and so there are legitimate uses of 'z' in UK English where the uninformed would use an 's'...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Why state “charger”?

          I'm glad you mentioned zeds. It's time for bed

          Signed

          Zebedee

    3. jtaylor

      Re: Why state “charger”?

      "forcing an arbitrary standard for anything other than safety rarely delivers user benefits..."

      In my car, I need Lightning (personal phone), USB-C (work phone), micro-USB (dashcam) and mini-USB (satnav). I don't ever power more than 2 devices at once, but I still have to carry a different cable for each one. Annoyingly, I can't even install that many cords under the trim.

      1. DCdave

        Re: Why state “charger”?

        I have a single cable that does lightning (which I don't use), micro-usb and usb-c on the business end. It's rather annoying that satnavs still do usb-mini. I suppose a small adapter to the single cable would be the way to go, then you've got all four covered with a single cable.

      2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

        Re: Why state “charger”?

        Get a magnetic cable and suitable ends for each device. OK, the magnetic interface is non-standard but if you get one manufacturer's version then the cable will work across the fleet. Look on ebay/amazon for 'magnetic usb cable' to see what I mean.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Why state “charger”?

      Yes and no. Most chargers (can) deliver a lot more power than USB-A was ever designed to do, so they are non-standard.

      USB-C was designed with higher power rating in mind - heck it can power most laptops within spec. Only the most high-end gaming and workstation laptops still need a dedicated power supply.

      1. DCdave

        Re: Why state “charger”?

        USB-A and USB-C are physical connector types. The power specifications are separate from that.

  7. Dinanziame

    To be honest, I feel it's almost not necessary to have such regulations anymore; the whole industry is already pretty much standardized (though I guess a lot of gadgets are still on micro-USB). We are very far from twenty years ago, when every single manufacturer had its own proprietary plug(s). Yes, Apple is still the exception, but it doesn't feel so bad.

    On the other hand, I do wonder whether this will cause problems when the technology will have evolved, and it will be difficult to introduce a new standard...

    1. bpfh Silver badge

      The infamous Nokia pop-port

      A dozen connectors on the plug for charging and connector your 1 earpiece hands free - but not at the same time, but also you could be lucky because a Nokia could also charge both through the pop port and through a 2.5 mm barrel jack. At least on my 3330.

  8. djstardust

    Yet the same Apple

    Discontinued the 30 pin connector at their own will making car interfaces, docking speakers and everything else obsolete at the drop of a hat. They also before that changed the charging pin locations so that made older devices still using the same connector obsolete as well.

    Pot kettle black?

    1. Philippe

      Re: Yet the same Apple

      Other manufacturers are releasing new format a lot more than Apple does.

      For instance, Lightning has been out since 2012. When it launched, Tim Cook said that it was there for the next 10 years, bringing us to September 2022.

      Apple has already started to transition Macs (since 2015) and iPad (since 2018) to USB-C.

      I expect the iPhone 14 to move to USB-C no matter the decision of the EU parliament.

      Ultimately moving to USB-C will generate a lot of e-waste, and will make innovation harder.

      Politicians should stay out of discussing standards.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Yet the same Apple

      They didn’t drop the 30 pin connector for more than ten years, I had 4 or 5 different phone chargers in that time...

      Lightning was brought in because they needed higher bandwidth, then they also designed the interface to be reversible, and it is still better than usbc from a physical viewpoint.

      They ran a two year phased introduction. And made lightning/30 pin adapters which actually worked (from memory).

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Yet the same Apple

      "Discontinued the 30 pin connector at their own will making car interfaces, docking speakers and everything else obsolete"

      I got a new company car that came with an adaptor cable to plug an iPhone/iPod into the entertainment system so it could be controlled from the steering wheel buttons. A few months later is when Apple made that cable change. Luckily, neither my phone nor the company one was an iPhone of either old or new style connector and the car could just as easily do the same playback functions by just plugging a USB pendrive into the USB port.

      1. Joe Montana

        Re: Yet the same Apple

        I also have a 30pin connector in the car, and it works fine with a 30pin to lightning adapter...

    4. Joe Gurman

      Re: Yet the same Apple

      Ooh, and those evil folks in Cupertino dropped 25-pin SCSI, and the SDB bus, and DIN-8 serial connectors, and.... Please, just get over it. Progress is not always bad.

  9. storner
    Paris Hilton

    Could someone explain what the problem is with Apple stuff?

    My iPad chargers have a completely standard USB output, it's only the cable that has a Lightning connector on one end. So what's the fuss about chargers?

    IMNSHO, standardizing wall plugs would make a lot more sense.

    (Paris, because I'm sure she doesn't understand either --->)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could someone explain what the problem is with Apple stuff?

      The problem is that you can only buy the charger cable from Apple. It's very disputable whether this is for actual usability or for augmenting Apple's rent-seeking business. One way or another, it is a waste.

      1. Tessier-Ashpool

        Re: Could someone explain what the problem is with Apple stuff?

        Go to Amazon and type Lightning to see how very wrong your statement is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could someone explain what the problem is with Apple stuff?

        Anker might disagree with you there, I have some very useful long lightning cables from them, very strong and long lasting in the usage they get in my household - and the lightning port on my "ancient" iPhone 6 has never needed attention whereas the mini usb on my old S3 LTE failed at 14 months - and I got the finger from Samsung support who said I was obviously charging my phone too often.

  10. YARR

    "Mobile device"

    What's a legal definition of a "mobile device"? Could many small network connected devices fall foul of this legislation?

    Perhaps Apple could ship their EU iPhones with a lead weight strapped to them, and a legal disclaimer that "conversion of this iPhone to an EU mobile device is performed at the user's discretion".

    1. bpfh Silver badge

      Re: "Mobile device"

      That would fall afoul if laws obliging you to provide 2 years legal guarantee when legally sold as a homologated device that respects all the weird symbols under the battery or in the user manual. And if they refused, there are not too many operators around to lean on and tell them to boot non compliant devices odd their mobile network...

      What they would do is supply the phone with whatever connecter they wanted, and a small converter, like Apple does with a lightening to 3.5 trrc jack - which I promptly lost for my jesusphone...

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "Mobile device"

      >What's a legal definition of a "mobile device"?

      It's a good point, I have sets of USB chargeable bike lights, among other 'mobile devices'.

  11. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Apple are not dumb, but are profit motivated!

    Macbooks are already powered via USB Type C. The only reason to phase the transition from Lightning to Type C is non-technical: there's nothing in Lightning that's not in Type C, and plenty in Type C that's not in Lightning. For example, Lightning has two lanes, Type C has four high speed "lanes" (signal pairs) plus four low speed "lanes" (pairs). [OK, so by the current standard, the low-speed pairs are fully allocated with relatively little room for innovation, but two of the high-speed ones are, by design, unallocated -- or rather, can be allocated to a number of different interfaces, including Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, HDMI, Ethernet and others to be defined.

    So why wouldn't Apple dump Lightning? Probably precisely for the reasons the EU wants to legislate: Apple _wants_ a nice, controlled private ecosystem and doesn't want customers to be able to use their iPhone accessories with non-iPhone devices.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Or because a phone doesn’t (yet) need to export pcie lanes?

      Maybe because having commited to supporting and using lightning for a decade they actually want to do that?

      How many non Apple phone charging interfaces have you had in the last 7 years. It would be at least two, probably three or more (assuming you’ve kept up to date enough to hit usbc).

      And that assumes you have stuck with mainstream smartphones...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Banana plugs for my stereo

    Do they still need to be bent?

    - Confused from Watford

  13. Curious

    Is there a possibility that this will apply to laptops?

    So the motion calls for

    "common charger for mobile telephones and other compatible devices" and " standard for a common charger for mobile radio equipment to be adopted as a matter of urgency "

    What's the chance that this will be broadened to apply to laptops?

    Despite the 100Watt power maximum of USB-C

  14. Phil Kingston

    Portless

    is the future

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is likely to grow in the coming years as it adds more nations, particularly from the Balkan regions

    no, it's not likely, quite the reverse (not that I'm happy or unhappy about it)

  16. TeeCee Gold badge
    Devil

    Any news on an EU decision on what colour the deckchairs should be on the Titanic yet?

    Actually, that would be far less likely to stifle innovation and prevent future efficiency gains, so probably better if they were to prioritise it.

    (You'll have to imagine the "bunch of overpaid, chair polishing fuckwits" icon, as we don't have one.)

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @TeeCee

      "Any news on an EU decision on what colour the deckchairs should be on the Titanic yet?"

      Looks like they are working on it-

      https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-next-crisis-the-geopolitical-commission/

      A push for a common European sovereignty (aka EU taking more sovereignty from members) and a bit of chest puffing they will deflate once someone looks at them. This could be amusing to watch.

  17. DougS Silver badge

    Stupid idea

    Had they done this in 2015 we would all be stuck using micro USB for charging. If they mandate a wireless charging standard then if someone can do something different that allows charging at a distance instead of with a device sitting on a pad, too bad they won't be able to do it. Or more likely the rest of the world will get the feature and the EU will have to wait several years for the EU to act to allow the new wireless charging standard, or to allow USB-C instead of micro-USB.

    Anyway, what "waste" are they saving by mandating a particular port on a phone? Apple ships a phone, along with a Lightning to USB-C cable, and a charger with a USB-C port. That charger is 100% interoperable with Android USB-C chargers, the only thing that is not interoperable is the cable. Are the EU's landfills being overwhelmed by Lightning cables? Would Apple switching to USB-C reduce the number of broken cables in any way? If not, then the amount of e-waste is exactly the same.

    What's left unsaid is that the EU is fixing the problems of 2005, when every phone you got (even if it was from the same OEM) used a different charger. I owned four phones between 2000 and 2009, two from Nokia and two from Motorola. They all had a different charger. Of course if they had acted then, they'd probably still require a 12v DC pin plug or something ancient like that, so it would be present on all phones even if most people had moved on to charging via USB.

  18. Enger

    MORE to it than just the type of connector

    Standardizing the connector is not sufficient to make chargers universal.

    Power negotiation protocol must be standardized. AND

    Power output capacity must be standardized.

    (Or at least a minimum power output level must be established, and that minimum should be realistic for modern-day smart phones that provide fast recharging times!)

    USB-PD (Power Delivery) may be a reasonable standard to adopt. It is currently at version 3.0

    But even that has options, and extensions. AND, the extensions are currently in use (by some high profile smart phones).

    The high-end Samsung charger uses the PPS (Programmable Power Supply) extension to PD. It delivers 45watts to the phone, using a custom voltage.

    AND, its output current is high enough it should require the 5A-capable power cord (another extension to the USB-PD standard).

    [See https://www.gsmarena.com/dont_just_buy_any_45w_pd_charger_for_the_samsung_galaxy_note10-news-38837.php ]

    To accommodate all of today's phones (allowing a single charger to optimally charge all phones), we'd need (at least) a 45W USB-PD PPS with 5A cable.

    Historically that might be expensive. But all the power supply manufacturers are now touting their new GaN (Gallium Nitride) based electronics. GaN is cited as enabling smaller physical size of the charger while also providing enhanced efficiency and reliability. AND, they cost less than previous designs.

    [See https://epc-co.com/epc/GalliumNitride/WhatisGaN.aspx]

    [See https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/11/11/20959970/hyperjuice-hyper-100w-gan-wall-charger-gallium-nitride-kickstarter-preorder-usb-c-usb-a ]

    So, maybe it _IS_ economically defensible for the EU to mandate a 45w USB-PD PPS 5A standard.

    That covers all the phones we know about. TODAY.

    How to we prepare for advances in battery technology?

    It hasn't always been Li Ion. It used to be NiMH, and NiCad before that. One possible future is Lithium Sulphur.

    Researchers in Australia have announced enhancements to Lithium Sulphur battery design that may open the door to higher capacity phone batteries.

    [See https://www.monash.edu/news/articles/supercharging-tomorrow-australia-first-to-test-new-lithium-batteries ]

    [See https://www.eetimes.com/a-new-lithium-sulfur-battery-with-an-ultra-high-capacity/ ]

    To allow higher capacity batteries to be recharged in a timely manner, perhaps the EU standard should mandate that all chargers support the highest level of USB-PD "Power Rule", allowing 100W to be supplied (at 20v and 5A). This would provide some room for growth in the smart phone charging system, and ALSO allow the same charger to be used to power OTHER devices (tablet and notebook computers and even some laptops). THAT could be a really universal charger.

  19. AshOnline

    is it just me that see's the lightning connector as significantly more reliable and resilient than the USB-C connector?

    I have never seen an issue with the connection in lightning connections!

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