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EU Mandates New Handheld Consoles And Phones Must Use USB-C By 2024

The European Union has drafted a new law that would make it mandatory for all phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video game consoles, portable speakers, and other small to medium electronic devices that have a battery to use USB-C by 2024.

The law, which is actually an amendment to the Radio Equipment Directive, aims to improve the lives of consumers by standardizing charging across the electronics industries. It also aims to reduce electronic waste by allowing consumers to use a single charger for their various devices. In a press release, the EU said it expects to save 250 million Euros per year on unnecessary charger purchases.

"Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charging device and cable every time they purchase a new device, and can use one single charger for all of their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices," wrote EU press officer Yasmina Yakimova. The proposed law still needs to be approved by the EU parliament and Council, but is expected to receive approval later this year. After that, manufacturers will have 24 months to ensure that all new electronics use the USB Type-C standard.

Laptops are also part of the new law, but the EU is giving laptop manufacturers 40 months to update their hardware due to the additional complexity of laptop power requirements.

The move to the USB-C standard isn’t entirely surprising. The EU has been notifying electronics makers for the past several years after it began exploring legislation almost a decade ago. Most Android phones and tablets already use USB-C, as do the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck. Apple, however, will now be forced to make an iPhone that uses USB-C rather than its proprietary Lightning cable.

In addition to mandating USB-C, the EU will also standardize charging rates for electronic devices. It also plans to enact similar rules for wireless charging in the coming months.

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