US lawmakers want to follow the EU in mandating a universal charging standard

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,343   +166
Staff member
What just happened? A group of democratic senators have penned a letter to US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo demanding the government take additional steps to address the country's lack of a common charging standard.

Last week, lawmakers in the European Union passed legislation requiring electronics sold in the region to use a standard USB-C port for charging by the fall of 2024. Some US leaders want to follow in the EU's footsteps on this matter.

The senators argue that the industry's failure to adopt a uniform charging standard is costly to consumers and results in excess e-waste and environmental damage. According to a cited report from the Global e-Waste Monitor, humans generated 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste in 2019 and only 17.4 percent was properly collected and recycled.

The letter was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Edward J. Markey and Bernard Sanders.

Arguments can be made for and against the creation and enforcement of a uniform charging standard for mobile devices.

Such a mandate would indeed cut down on e-waste and save consumers money by not having to purchase new chargers as frequently. Chargers would also be readily available away from home, so you wouldn't have to worry about bringing along your own or a portable battery bank.

On the flip side, tech companies could argue that such restrictions would stifle innovation and slow the advancement of rapid charging devices.

What are your thoughts? Should the US adopt a universal charging standard for mobile devices? If so, should it be USB-C or something else entirely?

Image credit: Screen Post, Markus Winkler

Permalink to story.

 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,603   +2,567
These old people in suits take their time don't they? You make it universal for simplicity and convienience. It's common sense. Stop confusing people for profit. This crap should have been put to an end as soon as Apple introduced that proprietary 30-pin connector.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,226   +2,762
TechSpot Elite
These old people in suits take their time don't they? You make it universal for simplicity and convienience. It's common sense. Stop confusing people for profit. This crap should have been put to an end as soon as Apple introduced that proprietary 30-pin connector.

As opposed to the USB / mini-USB A / mini- USB B / micro USB A / Micro USB B / Type A / Type B / Type C jumble?

Which of those should have been the standard and for how long?

Could you send video out on any of the USB variations in 2003? Nope, which was the purpose for the 30-pin: expandability.

Apple used the 30-pin for 10 years and has been using Lightning for 10 years. Seems a sensible cadence. If they switch to USB-C for everything, hopefully that'll be good enough for another decade.
 

ypsylon

Posts: 525   +544
Argument about stifling innovation is null and void when you consider that EU ruling doesn't apply to R&D, labs and prototypes. You can develop better charging plug/standard just fine.

At the moment it's USB-C. If you can do one better - USB-D - which will deliver like 1kW charge (instead ~230W max) and transfer all other stuff in same cable plus retain universal plug then, hey all power to you. Can't wait already.

Poor Apple lobbyists. What will they do when Lighting is finally no more? ;)
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,630   +5,597
As opposed to the USB / mini-USB A / mini- USB B / micro USB A / Micro USB B / Type A / Type B / Type C jumble?

Which of those should have been the standard and for how long?

Could you send video out on any of the USB variations in 2003? Nope, which was the purpose for the 30-pin: expandability.

Apple used the 30-pin for 10 years and has been using Lightning for 10 years. Seems a sensible cadence. If they switch to USB-C for everything, hopefully that'll be good enough for another decade.
I very rarely defend Apple, but the were forward thinking with that connector. It's easy to look back and laugh now, but at the time it was crazy. Also, it was a very satisfying connector to plug in.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,603   +2,567
For the record, Apple spends a measly 7% on R&D. Others like Intel, Nvidia and MS spend 19-21%.

Makes sense since non-Apple devices look more like iPhone concepts than what you actually get from Apple.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,603   +2,567
As opposed to the USB / mini-USB A / mini- USB B / micro USB A / Micro USB B / Type A / Type B / Type C jumble?

Which of those should have been the standard and for how long?

Could you send video out on any of the USB variations in 2003? Nope, which was the purpose for the 30-pin: expandability.

Apple used the 30-pin for 10 years and has been using Lightning for 10 years. Seems a sensible cadence. If they switch to USB-C for everything, hopefully that'll be good enough for another decade.
This article is about USB-C so I spoke on that.

Lightning has usb 2.0 speeds with 1TB 5K iPhones now, so micro USB could have easily been the standard along with Android devices years ago. And then move to USB-C for faster data transfer and PD charging which is what should be on a $800+ phone.

The 30-pin only existed to sell docks and other accessories that were useless when lightning came and those will eventuallybe trash to users and everyone without an iPhone. No scratch that. That's where dongles come in.

None of which makes sense when every Apple device except the iPhone uses USB-C.
 
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dragosmp

Posts: 75   +77
Worth keeping in mind that USB-C is just a socket type having a shape and a number of power and data pins.

The power pins can transfer 5 to 20V, the data cables can transmit a few protocols like USB 2.0, 3.x, Thunderbolt.

While being USB C socket, no reason why Apple couldn't use any of the available voltages or a different data protocol.

Some speculation below...
TBH this feels just like a standardisation in the same way as a fridge, a toaster and a computer uses the same charging plug, so that one doesn't need a special socket for every appliance. If you think about it, outside of a few kitchen appliances and the A/C unit, everything is the house could run on 100W PD (if designed accordingly) with little to no risk to human health due to the lower voltage, and once it scales with lower costs. The EU may be ahead of the game as in 10 years we may just replace the plugs in our homes with PD USBC sockets
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,312   +2,923
Do companies whine that the standard electrical sockets that power devices stifle innovation? No? Then they shouldn't be whining about this either. What's next, you'll need a drier plug to charge an e-bike? :laughing:

I was fixing to say pretty much that. All AC sockets, depending on the country/area are "UNIVERSAL". I don't see why USB-C couldn't be "the standard". Perhaps the USB alliance,group or whatever they call it could have a say in it.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,226   +2,762
TechSpot Elite
This article is about USB-C so I spoke on that.

Lightning has usb 2.0 speeds with 1TB 5K iPhones now, so micro USB could have easily been the standard along with Android devices years ago. And then move to USB-C for faster data transfer and PD charging which is what should be on a $800+ phone.

The 30-pin only existed to sell docks and other accessories that were useless when lightning came and those will eventuallybe trash to users and everyone without an iPhone. No scratch that. That's where dongles come in.

None of which makes sense when every Apple device except the iPhone uses USB-C.

Data transfer via a cable is something I have not heard an Apple user complain about for as long as I can remember. We support a lot of them in our org and users simply don't transfer stuff from their phones to a computer. That's why you have a phone with decent storage, so you don't need to use a computer as support staff for the phone. And send the rest to the cloud. Directly.

Isn't that the pount of cloud backups for a computer, so you have offsite automated backups for nonlocal data redundancy? Your phone should ignoring any inconvenient Mac or PC middleman and dumping that data directly to the cloud. Wirelessly. Because it's a wireless phone.

Sure, it'd be great if local data transfer was USB3 speeds and not USB2 but storing a backup of your phone on a local drive or making your phone dependent on a PC or Mac is doin' it old skool.
 

StupidPeopleSuk

Posts: 46   +16
Would somebody, anybody, PLEEEZE, just make 1 plug for everything, everywhere and be done with it, and NOT 2, or 3, or 5, or 10 years from now....TODAY...

Geezusfrigginchristalready.....all this whining is making me wanna break out those huge cheeze platters that are sitting in my fridge......
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,603   +2,567
Data transfer via a cable is something I have not heard an Apple user complain about for as long as I can remember. We support a lot of them in our org and users simply don't transfer stuff from their phones to a computer. That's why you have a phone with decent storage, so you don't need to use a computer as support staff for the phone. And send the rest to the cloud. Directly.

Isn't that the pount of cloud backups for a computer, so you have offsite automated backups for nonlocal data redundancy? Your phone should ignoring any inconvenient Mac or PC middleman and dumping that data directly to the cloud. Wirelessly. Because it's a wireless phone.

Sure, it'd be great if local data transfer was USB3 speeds and not USB2 but storing a backup of your phone on a local drive or making your phone dependent on a PC or Mac is doin' it old skool.
Apple. The good enough company. That's probably why I don't bother with their stuff. It's boring and cookie cutter.
The EU and the US are not wasting their time on this. It's warranted as far as the cable goes. It just makes sense.
 
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scavengerspc

Posts: 2,741   +2,973
TechSpot Elite
Would somebody, anybody, PLEEEZE, just make 1 plug for everything, everywhere and be done with it, and NOT 2, or 3, or 5, or 10 years from now....TODAY...

Geezusfrigginchristalready.....all this whining is making me wanna break out those huge cheeze platters that are sitting in my fridge......
Its all about cash. Make your own connector and everyone has to buy your power.

Unrelated PSA!
Take this game please.

 
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dangh

Posts: 693   +1,096
As opposed to the USB / mini-USB A / mini- USB B / micro USB A / Micro USB B / Type A / Type B / Type C jumble?

Which of those should have been the standard and for how long?
They were input stsndards, and nearly all of them except C were standard at the same time. Meaning, you had to have 5-6 different cables to connect devices logically on same level. Total waste, but reduction from ps/2 - serial ports anyway.
Each of them had significant issues (except C), which were main reasons to keep evolving. With c, this has more or less finished.

Could you send video out on any of the USB variations in 2003? Nope, which was the purpose for the 30-pin: expandability.
USB was an input port. Want to have variations of input ports at 2003? PS/2, SCSI, LPT1, DIN, pararell, ADB, and so on. USB reduced PCB controller types significantly, but still could have been improved. Because even with reducing controller types, did not reduce plugs/inputs variety. So, it was a half-success.

Apple used the 30-pin for 10 years and has been using Lightning for 10 years. Seems a sensible cadence. If they switch to USB-C for everything, hopefully that'll be good enough for another decade.
Apple was using bit more connectore than those 2, please check your sources. And it was using it in the same time as well. It is crazy that in 2022 I can't use same cable to charge apple laptop and apple phone. I can do that with my lenovo laptop and samsung phone. And yes, that is huge thing.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,119   +8,159
Microsludge started the standardization of software back in the days when interrupts frequently collided with each other causing universal issues. Once those Microsludge standards evolved, much of the issues with software & hardware disappeared, to the benefit of the end users. The same stands today where hardward standardizations will benefit all users and won't prevent the developers from competeing in the marketplace.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,226   +2,762
TechSpot Elite
They were input stsndards, and nearly all of them except C were standard at the same time. Meaning, you had to have 5-6 different cables to connect devices logically on same level. Total waste, but reduction from ps/2 - serial ports anyway.
Each of them had significant issues (except C), which were main reasons to keep evolving. With c, this has more or less finished.


USB was an input port. Want to have variations of input ports at 2003? PS/2, SCSI, LPT1, DIN, pararell, ADB, and so on. USB reduced PCB controller types significantly, but still could have been improved. Because even with reducing controller types, did not reduce plugs/inputs variety. So, it was a half-success.

Yes, that was exactly the problem, USB was inadequate when Apple designed the 30-pin and was inadequate when Apple designed the Lightning port. People complain about "Apple-only standards" but those ports solved a problem that the industry hadn't done on it's own yet. And now after 10 years or so, the industry seems to finally have figured out USB-C, which Apple is dragging their feet on.

Apple was using bit more connectore than those 2, please check your sources. And it was using it in the same time as well. It is crazy that in 2022 I can't use same cable to charge apple laptop and apple phone. I can do that with my lenovo laptop and samsung phone. And yes, that is huge thing.

What connectors? iPod, iPhone, iPad have used 30-pin since 2003 and Lightning since 2012. iPad Pros have USB-C finally now.
 

JGert

Posts: 8   +9
Argument about stifling innovation is null and void when you consider that EU ruling doesn't apply to R&D, labs and prototypes. You can develop better charging plug/standard just fine.

At the moment it's USB-C. If you can do one better - USB-D - which will deliver like 1kW charge (instead ~230W max) and transfer all other stuff in same cable plus retain universal plug then, hey all power to you. Can't wait already.

Poor Apple lobbyists. What will they do when Lighting is finally no more? ;)

I’m with you. The only thing I can think of is our Govt will be too slow to implement new technologies. We as tech enthusiasts will be on top of it. If implemented, we will be complaining that the Govt is holding back the implementation of USB-D and how it would be much better. When the Govt finally makes a decision, it’ll be 2-3 years before an impact. Samsung has been good about implementing new technology early. That would not be the case in the future. There WILL be trade offs.
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,156   +1,359
Government is good for one thing, screwing things up. Anything crafted by dumbocrats will certainly be flawed and worthless. Bureaucrats only care about two things, money and power.
 

Q Wales

Posts: 48   +11
Yes and as you are 2nd to the table make it USB-C. Lets not start the whole plug socket thing again and talking of which, whilst you're at it, maybe you could be first to the table for a universal plug fitting that doesn't fall out of the wall. Mod the USB-C connector if you want to mod something, just make sure it's backwards compatible.