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USB-C to Become Universal Standard for Electronic Devices in EU by 2024

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EU new rules of usb
Recently, the European Commission officially announced that starting from 2024, USB Type-C will become the universal standard for electronic devices in the European Union. In other words, from 2024 onwards, all EU electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, etc., will use a unified USB-C interface for charging. With this announcement, the USB-C interface is officially taking the lead.

USB-C is the “king” in the wired connection field. It provides bidirectional data transfer and power delivery. The interfaces at both ends of the cable are not only slim but can be used interchangeably without any difference. It can be seen that achieving the “universal standard” for interfaces has been the mission of USB-C since its inception.

EU USB-C post

Since its birth, the USB-C interface has been widely embraced by manufacturers and consumers, and its market size has gradually increased. According to data from Research Nester, the market size of USB Type-C was approximately $3 billion in 2022, and it is expected to reach $23 billion by the end of 2035, with a compound annual growth rate of about 25% between 2023 and 2035.

Regionally, it is expected that by the end of 2035, the Asia-Pacific region will dominate the market, with China leading in the Asia-Pacific region due to having one of the world’s largest consumer electronics markets. Additionally, the North American market will maintain its second-leading position, especially with the doubling of penetration in the healthcare and automotive sectors. The European market will experience significant growth, thanks to the enforcement of this new EU regulation.

The European Commission, in its press release, stated that this initiative advocates for promoting technological innovation in the field of electronic device charging and avoiding market fragmentation. The “universal charging” solution using USB-C will apply to all smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, handheld gaming devices, e-book readers, earbuds, keyboards, mice, and portable navigation systems by 2024, and to laptops by 2026. The EU will also provide an “transition period” for the industry to give manufacturers enough time to adapt to the new regulations.

The requirements for “universal charging” are as follows:

  • Electronic devices must use a unified USB-C charging port: Users can use any USB-C charger for their devices without being restricted by the brand.
  • Unified fast charging technology: This helps prevent unreasonable restrictions on charging speed by different manufacturers and ensures the same charging speed when using any compatible charger.
  • Separation of charger and electronic device sales: Consumers will be able to purchase new electronic devices without a new charger. This will limit the number of unused chargers in the market.
  • Provide better visual and written information to consumers: Manufacturers will need to provide relevant visual and written information about charging characteristics, including the required power for the device and whether it supports fast charging.

Looking back, the process of unifying the USB-C interface in the EU market was not simple.

Reportedly, in 2009, there were more than 30 types of charging interfaces on the market, creating a chaotic situation. At that time, under the supervision of the European Commission, 14 mobile phone manufacturers, including Apple, adjusted to gradually reduce the options to USB-C, Lightning, and Micro-USB.

Micro-USB was gradually phased out due to technical reasons, and Apple’s Lightning interface became the biggest resistance to a unified interface.

In September 2021, the European Commission formally proposed a plan to make USB-C the universal standard for all mobile devices within the EU, with a transition period of 24 months.

This move faced strong opposition from Apple: “We are concerned that such strict management of chargers will stifle innovation rather than encourage it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”

USB-C

However, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed the bill on October 4, 2022, requiring the charging interface for portable smart electronic devices, including mobile phones, to be unified as USB Type-C.

In September 2023, Apple announced that the iPhone 15 would exclusively use the USB-C interface. Thus, the “long-standing struggle” finally came to an end.

“The long wait is finally over!” the European Commission said. “This (enforcement of the new EU regulation) means better charging technology, reduced electronic waste, and easier access to the needed chargers.”

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