Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EU Committee Votes To Make All Smartphone Vendors Utilize a Standard Charger

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the which-will-surely-go-into-effect-in-a-timely-manner dept.

Cellphones 415

Deathspawner writes "The EU has been known to make a lot of odd decisions when it comes to tech, but one committee's latest vote is one that most people will likely agree with: Standardized smartphone chargers. If passed, this decision would cut down on never having the right charger handy, but as far as the EU is concerned, this is all about a reduction of waste. The initial vote went down on Thursday, and given its market saturation, it seems likely that micro USB would be the target standard. Now, it's a matter of waiting on the EU Parliament to make its vote."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sure, it's good today (5, Insightful)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about a year ago | (#44981059)

This bill had better have an expiration date, or else it might well interfere with new technologies like (perhaps) wireless power transmission.

Re:Sure, it's good today (3, Insightful)

allsorts46 (1725046) | about a year ago | (#44981129)

Don't think there's anything to stop manufacturers including both micro USB *and* wireless charging. But yes, eventually we should probably move on...

Re:Sure, it's good today (5, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#44981273)

Eventually? The sooner the better, if you ask me.

I currently have several devices that are nothing more than paper weights now as they are no longer chargeable due to broken micro USB ports.

It's not a terrible design for something like an external hard disk or other device that generally just sits there. On a device that is designed to be handled constantly, however, it falls flat on its face. The connection is simply too fragile.

If the EU really wants to reduce waste, they would mandate a connector that didn't break so easily, thus bricking the device. This is less of a problem nowadays with laptops, but they too have suffered this problem long enough that at this point the only reason you would keep releasing devices with fragile power connectors is that you are engineering obsolescence.

Re:Sure, it's good today (2)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#44981299)

...and thinking just a bit further, I have, in my lifetime, lost more laptops to connector failure than I have lost spinning hard disks due to any failure. I've had one spinning hard disk fail in my life (I've bought a new disk probably once every two years since about 1992). I have lost several laptops to broken connectors (both power and data connectors).

Re:Sure, it's good today (3, Insightful)

Pokey.Clyde (1322667) | about a year ago | (#44981549)

This gets +5 Insightful? Really? You're a damn clutz who manages to break things that I've never broken in my life.

Maybe you should learn how to take care of you things better.

Re:Sure, it's good today (1)

redback (15527) | about a year ago | (#44981615)

It sucks for hard disks too, people break them all the time.

Re:Sure, it's good today (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981641)

There is nothing inherently wrong with a micro USB that it breaks. The company that made the products you have that broke chose to not secure the jack to to the system board and/or used cheap parts, bad design, or your misuse. I've had quite a few devices with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, power cords, rca jacks, coax dc plugs, USB, various laptop conenctors, and probably a few others that I forgot about that have broken over the years.

Re:Sure, it's good today (2)

besalope (1186101) | about a year ago | (#44981667)

Eventually? The sooner the better, if you ask me.

I currently have several devices that are nothing more than paper weights now as they are no longer chargeable due to broken micro USB ports.

It's not a terrible design for something like an external hard disk or other device that generally just sits there. On a device that is designed to be handled constantly, however, it falls flat on its face. The connection is simply too fragile.

If the EU really wants to reduce waste, they would mandate a connector that didn't break so easily, thus bricking the device. This is less of a problem nowadays with laptops, but they too have suffered this problem long enough that at this point the only reason you would keep releasing devices with fragile power connectors is that you are engineering obsolescence.

There are micro-soldering repair shops that can reseat the ports with new connections to the board that will fix that issue. A friend of mine needed it done for his Galaxy S3, I think the total cost was around $45 including shipping and guarantees on the work being done.

Thought they required it a few years ago? (1)

billstewart (78916) | about a year ago | (#44981565)

Didn't everybody in Europe switch to Micro USB a couple of years ago?

I've still got a couple of devices that have Micro USB but don't seem to use it for charging. My GPS has a cradle with a proprietary connector that's fed by a Mini USB from a cigarette lighter adapter, and while it has Micro USB for a data interface, it can almost run from that but doesn't actually charge (as you might guess, I know this because the Mini USB on the back of the cradle is broken.) And I've got a Coby Android tablet that has a little ~1.5(?)mm charger which runs on 5V; it could perfectly well run off a USB wall or cigarette lighter adapter if it didn't have the proprietary cable, and it also has the "USB will keep it sort of running but not charge the battery" feature.

It doesn't matter as much for cell phones, but I wish everything could use a power cord like the Apple Mac laptop magnetic-disconnect ones. Of course, every new generation of laptop seems to want more voltage than the previous ones; I've seen them go from 12 to 14 to 16 to 19. (Sigh - if they could still use 12V we could just use simple car adapters, instead of 12V->110V->19V.)

Re:Sure, it's good today (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44981187)

The way to do it would be to require a micro-USB, but they can also use any other charging method you want. How many phones are going to have wireless charging ONLY?

TFA points out this is really only an issue at the moment with apple. No one else has the brand loyalty to abuse their customers by constantly breaking old accessories like apple does. Plus, Apple really doesn't lead the mobile phone field in anything besides squeezing more money out of their customers, how likely is it really that they'll put wireless charging into the phones anytime soon?

Re:Sure, it's good today (2, Interesting)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44981247)

constantly breaking old accessories like apple does

Updating their charger interface *ONE* time in the entire history of iPods is now "constantly"? My my, how the narrative changes with just one word.

Re:Sure, it's good today (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about a year ago | (#44981309)

Uhh, no, they updated their charger interface more than once. Try using an iphone 1 charger with an iphone 4 and get back to me.

Re:Sure, it's good today (4, Informative)

dugancent (2616577) | about a year ago | (#44981359)

No prob. In fact I use my 3rd iPod charger (2003ish) to charge my iPhone 4S.

Re:Sure, it's good today (3, Informative)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44981547)

The point hes not making is that the Apple 30 pin changed under the hood quite often. You were never sure what functions it would support until you used it, beyond simple charging.

Re:Sure, it's good today (0)

dugancent (2616577) | about a year ago | (#44981655)

No his point is that you can't use a 1st gen iphone charger with a iphone 4, which you can. The only chargeing mechanism that changed was from Firewire to USB, and that happened 3 or 4 years for the iphone came out.

Re:Sure, it's good today (4, Informative)

Macman408 (1308925) | about a year ago | (#44981633)

Parent and GP are both right, kind of. The original iPod had a Firewire port right on it. The third-generation iPod switched to the 30-pin dock connector. This connector is the same connector that was used all the way through last year, when Apple switched to the Lightning connector instead.

However, within this connector, different devices support different features. The connector contains pins for both Firewire and USB, each with their own power (Firewire is 12V unregulated, USB is 5V regulated). Another feature that varies by device include video output.

Any accessories that didn't take the easy way out and support charging via both USB and Firewire will work on any device. The problem many people encountered, however, is that many accessory makers DID take the easy way out, especially for car accessories. A 12V unregulated power supply is really easy to get in a car - everything runs off of 12V. So an old 30-pin charger can basically just connect the cigarette lighter directly to the phone, with a fuse inline for safety.

Eventually, Apple dropped Firewire support in new devices. Anything that supported both Firewire and USB kept working - however, many accessories didn't. After all, why add in a 5V regulator and other components if they're not strictly needed?

Re:Sure, it's good today (2, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#44981621)

Try using an iphone 1 charger with an iphone 4 and get back to me.

It works fine. They're both 30-pin connectors with no differences between them that I can see. But please, tell us more about these fictional problems you've invented.

Re: Sure, it's good today (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#44981323)

They did change the charging pins when they removed FireWire as a charging source. Even though they kept the 30-pin connector.

This has nothing to do with Accessories, just charging.

Re:Sure, it's good today (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44981395)

Huh? There was Firewire/30 pin, then there was USB/30 pin, then there's the shuffle "charge using the headphone jack," then the Lightning charging cable.

Beyond charging, Apple's changed the other interfaces, too. Try to find a recent audio device with iPod control support which works with any iPod prior to 5G ones (and even those are iffy). "Made for iPod" means nothing, because Apple does frequently change their interfaces.

Re:Sure, it's good today (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44981687)

Oh, I forgot (there's so many!) the pre-"iPod with Dock" models, which just used straight Firewire to charge.

Re:Sure, it's good today (2)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44981453)

The way to do it would be to require a micro-USB, but they can also use any other charging method you want. How many phones are going to have wireless charging ONLY?

Hopefully all of them.

Bluetooth for the headphone, wireless charging for the battery, and you have the ability to EASILY make a waterproof phone because there are now no electrical interfaces that need to pass from the interior to the exterior. That makes the engineering dead simple. (Buttons are a non issue because you can have a waterproof membrane between the physical button and the switch (or whatever) beneath it. The mic and speaker are slightly harder but is a solved problem.

Nearly all water damage currently comes in via the headphone or charging port.

Re:Sure, it's good today (2)

itsdapead (734413) | about a year ago | (#44981507)

The way to do it would be to require a micro-USB, but they can also use any other charging method you want. How many phones are going to have wireless charging ONLY?

Thin phones, flexible phones, waterproof phones, tiny in-ear phones, wearable phones, phones that can be fitted nasally, 2016's "if I'd thought of it now I'd be down at the patent office now not posting on Slashdot" ones? Any kind of device for which eliminating a hole in the case, exposed contacts and a mechanically-robust fixing for the socket is a Good thing.

This is classic EU "shutting the stable door after the milk has been spilt policy." I don't know if they've noticed, but the world has pretty much standardised on having a USB 'A' socket [i]on the charging device[/i] to the extent that they're tuning up on multi-way mains adapters, in hotel rooms and cars (I have a car-lighter socket to USB-A socket adapter). This solves 99% of the problem plus it is also a no-brainer for manufacturers since many devices need a data cable anyway. There's no need to specify how the cable connects to the device. I haven't had to pack more than one power supply to charge my Android phone, iPad, eReader, headphones, mouse... for a couple of years now.

Carrying a few different cables is something that I, and the Earth, can cope with.

Don't worry (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44981061)

Apple is safe. Only the charger needs to be USB, they can still use a proprietary connector on the device. I'm still surprised the EU hasn't gone after them for breaking 3rd party cables though.

Re:Don't worry (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44981091)

I agree. All the waste is really in the charger itself, not in the cable. As much as I would like Apple to switch to a standard USB connection, I have no problem with their choice. Laptop charges on the other hand are a completely different story. They should also look into standardized replaceable batteries if they are really focused on cutting waste.

Re:Don't worry (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981137)

I'd rather see all the other manufacturers switching to the solid, less breakable than USB, invertible, plug that Apple are using to be honest.

Re:Don't worry (0)

John Bokma (834313) | about a year ago | (#44981233)

Same here. As soon as you have a few devices that need to be plugged in once in a while it becomes very obvious that Apple made a very smart decision.

Re:Don't worry (0, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44981277)

Stop swimming in the Kool-aid.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981355)

Stop swimming in the Kool-aid.

Your remark is useless unless your intent was to convince
people that you are stupid, in which case your remark is
a rousing success.

Micro USB is known to be one of the less reliable
connectors available for devices which may be moved
or bumped during operation.

I ride a motorcycle and micro USB is so unreliable for connecting a
device which needs to have constant power on the motorcycle that it is
essentially useless.

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981527)

Micro USB is known to be one of the less reliable connectors available for devices which may be moved or bumped during operation.

Bullshit. Provide sources. And a link to one guy who had problems once isn't a source.

Re:Don't worry (0)

John Bokma (834313) | about a year ago | (#44981661)

Obvious troll is obvious.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44981363)

If Apple made it an open design that anyone could use, that would be a possibility, but as with most things Apple, it's about lock-in and nothing else.

Re:Don't worry (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about a year ago | (#44981653)

Unlike all other companies, right. Anyway, what stops team USB from adding another connector. There are already several, so what difference does another one make, especially if it has the mechanical advantages Lightning has.

Re:Don't worry (4, Informative)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44981271)

Ah, Apple. Dock Connector had its stressed parts on the connector, which means that if something breaks, it's most likely the cheap cable. MicroUSB does this too. Lightning has its stressed parts in the receptacle - so the parts that break the most are inside the expensive phone.

Great idea, huh?

Re:Don't worry (5, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | about a year ago | (#44981311)

Not to mention the thing where the lightning cable apparently has a chip in the cable itself to verify itself with the phone. Turning the "cheap and easily replaceable" bit into "an unnecessary expensive and wasteful thing."

The lightning cable and connector should die, and Apple should be forced to use micro USB just like everyone else.

Re:Don't worry (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44981385)

At least that has debateable advantages in some cases.

Designing the phone to break before the connector has no advantages. "Smaller connector" is not an advantage beyond a certain point.

Re:Don't worry (5, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44981433)

Designing the phone to break before the connector has no advantages.

It does if you sell phones.

That'll happen in about 19 years (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44981423)

I'd rather see all the other manufacturers switching to the solid, less breakable than USB, invertible, plug that Apple are using

That's fine 19 years from now when the Lightning connector patent expires. So what do you recommend between now and then?

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981465)

I agree. All the waste is really in the charger itself, not in the cable. As much as I would like Apple to switch to a standard USB connection, I have no problem with their choice. Laptop charges on the other hand are a completely different story. They should also look into standardized replaceable batteries if they are really focused on cutting waste.

How does standardizing replaceable batteries cut waste? Chargers yes because then you need fewer of them and a charger doesn't become waste just because the device fails since you can use it with other devices. But batteries never outlast devices (unless you break the device in a very special way) and if a device is still usable but the battery is worn, it's almost certain that there are original batteries - not to mention exploding third party ones - available. Furthermore, standardizing batteries would reduce consumer choices since the battery size is part of the device form factor and different vendors offer different trade-offs between device size and battery life. However, standardizing the chargers really does benefit consumers (and reduces waste).

Re:Don't worry (3, Informative)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44981145)

Nope. They're requiring a micro-USB connector on the phone itself. All phone chargers and their connecting wires will be required to interoperate with it.

Re:Don't worry (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981221)

And what happens when micro-USB is deprecated? Do we go back to some EU overseer commission for approval again?

This is one of the least significant problems facing most societies today. No wonder EU birthrates are dropping - there must be something in the water.

Re:Don't worry (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44981235)

Nope. They're requiring a micro-USB connector on the phone itself. All phone chargers and their connecting wires will be required to interoperate with it.

That was my understanding also. And Apple will get an exception.

Re:Don't worry (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44981485)

Apple already got an exemption last time this issue came up in the EU.

This isn't the first time this was addressed [wikipedia.org] by the EU.
The last law only affected the part that plugged into the wall, so Apple got an exemption there.

Now they are specifying BOTH ends of the connectors must meet the standard. Its about time.
Also, selling phones without a charger, for 10 bucks less would make sense as well.

But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (3, Funny)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44981069)

How will my iPhone possibly work if it has to be charged with a tool as common as a wall wart? Eeeww. It's 20% less cool than a Lightning cable!

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44981081)

How will my iPhone possibly work if it has to be charged with a tool as common as a wall wart? Eeeww. It's 20% less cool than a Lightning cable!

Just get an adapter for your iPhone... before it becomes cool.

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (4, Interesting)

sl149q (1537343) | about a year ago | (#44981133)

20% less cool and half the amps..

Not a huge problem for your iPhone probably. But definitely a problem for your iPad.

And literally (really literally not emphatically literally) the iPad chargers are not less cool. They get pretty warm :-)

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about a year ago | (#44981193)

Um i think this only effects phones not tablets.

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (1)

sl149q (1537343) | about a year ago | (#44981529)

If we don't defend our Lightning cables when they come to take them away from our iPhones, will we be able to defend them when they come to take them away from or iPads and iPods!

For people in in the IOSphere iStandardization across our various iDevices is more important than across other devices we simply do not, would not and will not ever own. Especially when that standard is sub-standard in various ways (orientation of connector problem, inferior design of jacks and plugs, lower wattage available for charging.)

The better standard would simply require standardization at the OTHER end of the cable. Require all phones to come with a cable that has a standard USB A plug. That can then be charged into any USB Charger or USB Host. And BTW Apple already provides that. Both a USB to Lightning cable and a USB charger.

This was (IMHO) the intent of the USB Charging Standard. Make the wall warts standard. Plug any device that wants to charge into that with an appropriate standard (at that end) cable. Mandating the connector at the phone end is not required.

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#44981627)

Because it's MUCH more annoying when my phone doesn't use the same connector as everyone else's than if the phone and tablet I actually own myself use different connectors.

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (1)

Plammox (717738) | about a year ago | (#44981537)

Your iPad will charge, connected via USB, even though it says it isn't. It just takes forever.

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981647)

And literally (really literally not emphatically literally)

So... it has come to this.

Re:But, but, my precious Lightning charger! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981199)

I like that the lightning is reversible.

Apple's going to LOVE this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981077)

I'm laughing like hell.

Not a big deal (2, Interesting)

Renegade Lisp (315687) | about a year ago | (#44981085)

Manufacturers can still keep their bottom line by making cables and connectors so bad they have to be replaced even more often than before. As a matter of fact, I think that already happened.

Re:Not a big deal (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44981231)

Manufacturers can still keep their bottom line by making cables and connectors so bad they have to be replaced even more often than before. As a matter of fact, I think that already happened.

True, but I suspect this creates a market in reasonably constructed cables and connectors that last longer. And because the connectors and voltages are standard, one could buy premium chargers from a third party and throw away the junk that comes with the phone.

Although, come to think of it, that doesn't help with the waste, much.

Re:Not a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981555)

Manufacturers can still keep their bottom line by making cables and connectors so bad they have to be replaced even more often than before. As a matter of fact, I think that already happened.

True, but I suspect this creates a market in reasonably constructed cables and connectors that last longer. And because the connectors and voltages are standard, one could buy premium chargers from a third party and throw away the junk that comes with the phone.

Although, come to think of it, that doesn't help with the waste, much.

The way to make vendors make decent chargers in that case is to improve the recycling fee that is already included in the product price. Instead of having that fee on new products, vendors should be made to pay when any product of theirs is returned to recycling and the amount should depend on how old the product is. They would then have an incentive to make chargers last longer since few people return a working charger to recycling just because they get a new one when they buy a new phone. Instead they would keep the extra charger elsewhere for convenience and the manufacturer wouldn't need to pay that fee until the charger has been in use for many, many years.

it will kill innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981093)

and the USB connectors SUCK. All of them.

as much as I dislike iTunes, the lightning connector makes up for it all. Can't they standardize on that one rather than something that's 15 years old ?

Re:it will kill innovation (1)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#44981179)

Standardize on paying Apple a licensing fee for every charger sold in the EU? Nice idea. Apple loves people like you.

Re:it will kill innovation (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44981225)

Much as I don't like to like Apple's "lock-you-in" marketing strategies, I have to agree that the Lightning connector is the best engineered small-form-factor connector of its type that I've used on any portable device. It's secure, it's invertible, and it is designed to not wear out through forceful insertions. The old "universal" connector was awful by comparison.

I find micro-USB to be annoyingly fragile, although that could be due to cheap, under-engineered connectors with weak physical board mounting hardware.

Oh, well. I live in America, so I expect Apple will continue to provide the US market with Lightning connectors, just to cheese off the EU. And they will no doubt continue to keep the Lightning connector on EU based iPads, just to remind people that they voted in a bunch of intrusive politicians.

That's odd (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981101)

I thought there was an international law against governing bodies making common sense decisions?
Someone is going to receive a very sternly written letter.

Yeah: DoingTheRightThing(TM) (1)

DamonHD (794830) | about a year ago | (#44981105)

I fully support this, and a side-effect that I'm leaning on for one of my energy-efficiency projects (see @OpenTRV) is a supply of cheap efficient commodity 5V micro-USB supplies.

Rgds

Damon

waste? LOL !!! (1, Insightful)

gadget junkie (618542) | about a year ago | (#44981121)

"[...]but as far as the EU is concerned, this is all about a reduction of waste"

I wonder how many times they shuffled between Strasbourg and Bruxelles while they decided that I do not need three 15 EUR chargers.

Except we'll end up with none. (0)

djsmiley (752149) | about a year ago | (#44981143)

Sadly..... this'll mean they just don't come with chargers anymore...

See: DVD players with no HDMI (and back in teh day SCART)( cables; See the Nintendo DS's SKU's which come iwthout chargers.... etc

Vote with your wallet (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#44981147)

No need to legislate this. Most people I know go out of their way to avoid buying products that don't charge with a USB connector if they can avoid it - at least computer-related products.

Me, the last device I bought with a special charger was a Casio Exilim camera that has unique enough features that I had no other choice. But I hate that charger each time I have to carry it with me on business trips when I already carry a USB charger that takes care of all my other devices.

Re:Vote with your wallet (0)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#44981191)

No need for most laws but, unfortunately, we tend to "grade" politicians on how many laws they pass instead of on the good they do.

Re:Vote with your wallet (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44981447)

No need for most laws but, unfortunately, we tend to "grade" politicians on how many laws they pass instead of on the good they do.

No we fucking don't. You totally made that up, you lying twat.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about a year ago | (#44981215)

Too bad there are so many differences between the phones that I almost certainly won't find a model that is exactly the same as the phone I want except it uses USB for charging.
Though since Nokia phones use 5V for charging, a simple wiring adapter can make it charge from USB (though my current phone, the E90, has a USB port, it does not charge from it).

You must know a lot of people (5, Informative)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44981261)

There are millions of people that have iPhones, none of them are your friends? This whole "must be chargeable with micro USB" was already mandatory in the EU, they are just changing the regulations so you don't need an adapter like the iPhone currently requires. They had to, because evidently vendors weren't having it and found ways around it, so yes, there really is a need to legislate this.

Re:You must know a lot of people (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44981497)

This whole "must be chargeable with micro USB" was already mandatory in the EU

No, there was a strong push for standardized charging ports which resulted in a voluntary agreement [internatio...office.com] among many phone manufacturers. Apple only agreed to provide an adapter which would allow micro-USB chargers to work with their phones.

in March 2009 the commission issued an ultimatum to mobile phone manufacturers: either to become subject to mandatory EU legislation or to voluntarily adopt a common charger. The manufacturers chose the latter.

-from above link

Re:You must know a lot of people (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44981599)

Problem with your rant is that the iPhone is not the problem. It is the proliferation of USB cables, A to B, A A, to mini A, mini B, micro A, micro B. I have to have multiple sets of four different cables to run everything. OTOH, with the Apple stuff two or three cables were enough. And the lighting cable, like the magsafe, is an elegant solution that requires much fewer materials, and I have only had one or two break. When the dock connecter was out, it meant I could usb or firewire, which was good because USB was slow.

So yes, there are a few stupid companies that are trying to reinvent the wheel just for a proprietary solution. Nintendo comes to mind. I don't know anyone else that doesn't have a USB charger. It would be nice if they standardized on micro A, but that is not the waste problem. The waste problem is the charger itself. I used to buy so many device that cam with a charger that I would lose or would be useless. That meant I had to buy a new charger, with all that plastic, copper, and electrolyte, which was wasteful. Now a few chargers scatted around, and all it well. A world with a lighting cable only would be much better, as it is not as fragile as micro A.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981291)

Your proposed "solution" clearly didn't work, otherwise the legislative one wouldn't have been proposed.
Voting with your wallet only works well with products that are terrible enough for nobody to buy them or for someone with a sufficiently large wallet.

Re:Vote with your wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981607)

The current free market is not a TRUELY free market. Everything that is wrong with the world is because of the govorment.

Re:Vote with your wallet (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44981561)

No need to legislate this.

Wrong.

You need only look at power outlets across europe [wikipedia.org] to see what happens when you don't legislate standards.

When an otherwise popular device foists yet another cable requirement on the market, that, in most cases will over-ride users
resistance to having a new cable. All you have to do is LOOK at all the Apple fanbois tossing out their 30pin connector,
(which we were assured by Apple was the best thing ever) and substituting the new Lightning cable, which is also now the best thing ever).

In the mean time, the rational for doing ANYTHING thru the cable besides charging is virtually non-existent.

A world standard almost exists for phone charging. There is really only ONE holdout.
Wired charging will eventually be supplanted by wireless charging, and you will need standards there as well.

Standardization is ALWAYS something that needs legislation. Always.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44981677)

Standardization is ALWAYS something that needs legislation.

But the "legislation" need not be provided by a government. For example,

A world standard almost exists for phone charging. There is really only ONE holdout.

In other words, it's an informal (or perhaps a formal standard - not like I looked here) standard that has only ONE holdout. Now, if you're trying to force the holdouts to use a particular standard, then well, you have a somewhat better case for government involvement.

I thought they already did that? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#44981181)

I thought Micro-USB was already the required charging standard for phones in the EU?

Re:I thought they already did that? (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44981305)

So did I until recently. Turns out it was an optional standard. I'm guessing they're just upgrading it to mandatory.

Re:I thought they already did that? (0)

Smallpond (221300) | about a year ago | (#44981327)

It is. This decision was made two years ago. The article, poster and editors are all pointedly demonstrating the death of journalism.

Apple... (0, Flamebait)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44981203)

...will get an exception, as usual.

Re:Apple... (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44981313)

They won't. They'll probably be allowed to ship an adapter with the phone, though.

Re:Apple... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44981445)

Actually this seems to be targeting Apple almost specifically. I think Nokia stopped the proprietary connector nonsense years ago. Everyone else is already using micro USB.

Better yet, enforce the damn spec. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981263)

Get the USB group to ban people from bastardizing the USB spec.

There is NO REASON AT ALL for those stupid chargers. NONE. Well, besides making money.

It annoyed me on PSVita as well, the charging for it is such a pain in the dick, seriously.
Try to put it in hub, will not charge. EVER HEARD OF TAKING WHAT YOU ARE GIVEN? CHARGE DAMN IT, THE USB SPEC SAYS SO.
And the USB charger itself, the adapter, the bit where you plug the USB section in, it has this little plastic bit on both sides that prevent you from putting a standard USB cable in. (unless you slice it off like I did)
I now just use my PSVIta chargers adapter for everything else now, exact same damn thing anyway.

The USB group should be the ones doing this, not the EU.
All it is doing is crapping all over the spec with stupid crap that the entire spec was AGAINST in the first place!
USB was supposed to be the thing that killed all others, the one spec to rule them all, now it is going backwards with all these stupid plugs and sockets.
I am fine with companies working together to create these extensions to specs and work together to create something better, but just doing a Microsoft on it is dickish at best.

Re:Better yet, enforce the damn spec. (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44981335)

Better yet, get people to ban the USB group from making bastard USB specs.

Here we go again with some bureaucrats (0)

grantspassalan (2531078) | about a year ago | (#44981287)

who know less than nothing about engineering, making engineering decisions. Next thing you know these idiotic politicians will also extend their stupid mandates to other areas of technology. It appears that in some ways, European politicians are even stupider than the ones we have over here in the states. Standards should be come up with by engineers who know what they are doing, rather than politicians. I do not think for a minute that the engineers at Apple changed the connector on their iDevices for no good reasons. If politicians legislate in this area, they can do nothing less than stifle technology and innovation.

Re:Here we go again with some bureaucrats (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44981473)

I do not think for a minute that the engineers at Apple changed the connector on their iDevices for no good reasons.

Me neither. They did it because sales told them to.

Re:Here we go again with some bureaucrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981573)

who know less than nothing about engineering, making engineering decisions.

Who's making engineering decisions? All they're saying is use the same plug. BFD. In order to have a USB device, they are already following a standard - for one end at least. WTF is so special about the other than locking the consumer into a brand - as in Apple's case and charging a premium in the process.

Standards should be come up with by engineers who know what they are doing, rather than politicians.

Ah yes, because you'll get a bunch of engineers in a room and they'll all come to the same conclusion on what the standard should be based on logic and their knowledge. ...... Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaa,

Sorry, I'm such a joker.,

Not so cut and dry (2, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44981325)

At first glance this is a fantastic idea, but it may not have been thought out all the way. I like micro usb chargers and even as an Apple fan was dismayed when they developed lighting instead of going micro usb. However Apple did have good reason to develop the lighting port - it's much more than a charging port. This is slashdot and we talk about Apple enough that I am sure enough of you understand what makes the lighting port leaps and and bounds more advanced the micro usb. Therein lies the problem. Technology is moving forward faster and faster and in a matter of time the obsolescence of the micro usb charger will rear its head as new technologies demand something with more advanced capabilities. It's all well and good for many reasons to have a standard port, but this cannot happen without a plan to reconvene every five years to settle on a new industry wide port with more capabilities. This of course brings us right back to the waste issue, and demanding a stop-gap generation of phones that support micro usb and whatever is next would be too costly for manufacturers. We can't live on micro usb forever and so the problem comes back full circle. In this situation adapters are not practical and are too easy to loose. If we are going to have a standard port, we need to first come up with something wicked advanced that will last as long as micro usb has and then go through a period of extreme waste with some recycling as we move over. It would be nice if Apple would just open up their lighting port for everyone to implement - but that of course will not happen. In other words: I sure as hell don't know what to do about the situation.

Re:Not so cut and dry (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44981523)

Micro-USB is also more than a charging port. Apple only went with a proprietary connector to continue the lock-in.

Typical eurocrat idiocy. Goodbye innovation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981337)

Got a new charger design that is smaller? More durable? Magnetic? Easier to plug in the dark? Compatible with an odd form factor?

Well too bad. That is illegal. The standard charger is the only charger. Yours ist verbotten in die Grosser Deutschland.

Standing in from of the parade (1)

dumky2 (2610695) | about a year ago | (#44981353)

Standardization of chargers has largely taken place already. You have Apple devices with Lightning connectors and the rest which pretty much use micro USB.
Personally, I prefer Lightning.
Also, I'm sure that further improvements will be made (which government-mandated standardization will make more difficult).

Re:Standing in from of the parade (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44981587)

If lightning was as ubiquitous and cheap as USB, it would have its merits. As it is now its Apple's fuck you to everyone else. Its expensive and over-engineered. Full disclosure: Sent from my 2011 mac mini

Lock in (0, Flamebait)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44981361)

The big problem with this idea is how do manufacturers migrate to better technology once enough people realize how much USB is crap technology?

Re:Lock in (2)

OneAhead (1495535) | about a year ago | (#44981455)

Can you be a bit more specifc? What exactly is crappy about USB?

Also, do you still remember the time before USB? *shudder*

Re:Lock in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981683)

I hear firewire is doing well in mobile space purely because of it's technical superiority, oh wait you mean licensing costs.

Can we have standard laptop chargers next please ? (3, Insightful)

bheading (467684) | about a year ago | (#44981439)

A fine idea.

What about laptop chargers too ? Every laptop I've owned has had a different charger plug. In some cases machines made by the same manufacturer have different plugs. Have a set of standard charger ratings and a standard way for the laptop to detect it.

Re:Can we have standard laptop chargers next pleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981631)

Having a 30w laptop plugged into a 120w brick shouldn't damage the laptop, it just means the power brick won't be running at full efficiency. All you really need to do is regulate the voltage, socket, and polarity, maybe adding a minimum sustained current that the brick has to be able to handle (so manufacturers know the bricks will be able to supply at least 60w, for example).

Making the de-facto standard mandatory. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44981459)

This is just making mandatory the Common External Power Supply [wikipedia.org] EU standard. That's been a voluntary standard since 2009, and most cell phone vendors in Europe have been on board for years. It's simple enough - phones use a MicroUSB B connector, and chargers use a USB-A connector if they have a connector at the charger end.

China standardized on MicroUSB-B back in 2007. The GSM consortium standardized on MicroUSB-B in 2009.

iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981475)

Interesting...

End of innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981605)

Doesn't that end all innovation with power supply input form factors?

Or does it mean if you invent a new, better form factor - you still have to fit a micro-USB (if there's room) and make sure your device works with that.

We're screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981623)

We even let politicians / beaurocrats decide what charger to use on our mobile devices – are we truly that utterly useless? Tear down this illusion of democracy and accept the fact - we are to stupid to decide on which telephones to buy (market driven economics should provide the optimum charger interface) and therefor we're not competent to elect politicians either. Fuck this.

Smartphones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44981645)

I have an iDevice, I don't need no usb, thankyouverymuch!

This hasn't been posted yet? (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44981703)

It's #927 in case you're wondering.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?