One Charging Standard to Rule Them All

Following the EU’s lead, a group of US lawmakers are urging the Department of Commerce to establish a standardized common charger for all mobile devices.

Spearheading the appeal are Democratic senators Ed J. Markey, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. In the letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the senators said, “We write regarding the economic and environmental harm inflicted by the consumer electronics industry’s failure to establish a uniform charging accessory standard.”

The letter pointed to a lack of uniform standards putting a financial burden on consumers, as well as causing them to frequently change their charging accessories. Obsolete chargers end up in the landfill, contributing to electronic waste.

In the final call-to-action, the senators asked the Department of Commerce to “develop a comprehensive plan that will protect both consumers and the environment by addressing the lack of a common U.S. charging standard.”

One charging standard to rule them all.

This isn’t quite the same as EU’s legislation to make USB-C the common charger but is definitely a push for the US to establish some domestic standards for chargers.

There were already reports, via Bloomberg, of Apple testing USB-C charging ports on its device in anticipation of the EU law getting passed. The iPhone and AirPods are two popular devices that use Apple’s proprietary Lightning chargers–which we could see phased out in the future.

It is interesting to see many publications call out Apple, even though they’ve been using their lightening port for nearly a decade now. Android is one of the worst offenders, how many USB chargers have mobile devices been using in the past five years?

On the flip side, why does Apple have to be proprietary? They always have to be different than everyone else. If legislation is the only way to make them comply, then that’s the way it goes. Fortunately, they allowed their iPhones to be wirelessly charged by standard methods. But don’t think that they didn’t try. They just couldn’t make it work.

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