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EU rule: One cable to charge them all...


The European Union's long-discussed plan for a common phone charger now has a date, putting an end to the long-time travelers' (and others') worry about not being able to find a compatible source of power.

Starting in autumn of next year, all phones, tablets and cameras offered for sale in the EU will need to have a USB-C port for charging and data, and the companies selling them will no longer include a charger in the packaging, leaving users to either already own one or several, or to buy one.

The situation is much better than it was before 2009, when mobile manufacturers agreed to stop producing the dozens of different connectors in use up until then, sometimes different ones for different models in the same line, and standardize on USB-Micro. Only Apple said 'no' to the agreement.

While nearly all phone makers have migrated to USB-C from Micro, there are still quite a few e-readers, game machines, speakers and other devices using older connectors. They, too, are covered by the new rules. Laptops will be included from 2026, although most recent models use the USB-C Power Delivery standard and already comply.

Some industry companies made the argument that the common rule would stifle innovation, but the argument did not carry. The EU has said it will have a panel available to consider any future changes and developments.

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