Yes, the European Parliament is pushing for a standardized connector for all smartphones.

For any phone that comes into the market today there’s essentially two standards: USB-C, which replaced microUSB, and then Apple’s Lightning connector.

Over a decade ago when the European Parliament started looking for solutions to the problem of having many different connectors, things were different. Now the market has converged to such an extent that by and large we only one connector for most people, and Apple’s connector for the disciples of the bitten fruit.

So essentially this has already become an outdated issue that has been resolved by the market.

But let’s dig deeper. Why are we looking at just phones, and how do we even define a phone? Nowadays your GPS device, smartwatch, laptop, tablet, etc will share many features with a mobile phone. Defining a phone is increasingly hard. Apple watches have e-sims nowadays, and an old samsung watch took in a microsim. With the coming of 5G, your fridge, car, and reading AR glasses will have most of the same hardware as what we label a phone. These devices due to size or functionality cannot necessarily accommodate, or need to have, this common port.

Waste comes mostly from broken and out of date chargers and cables. While we want to reduce out of date chargers, what we are essentially doing is stifling technological evolution. Compare the data speed transfers between mini-usb back in the day, and USB-C today. What are we going to do? Force phone companies to use USB-C forever? Just strange when you consider how quickly technology progresses. And then when USB-Z comes out, who is going to manage the legislative adaptation and coordination for the switchover? It’s a waste of time for the legislators to even be discussing this.

We do perhaps need to ensure that companies are allowed to make converters (USB-C to lightning and vice-versa) and aftermarket chargers (much like car parts can be made by anyone and not just the brand who made the original car).

Furthermore, wanting a common charger, especially nowadays where so many phones can also use wireless charging which works in the same way for all phones that offer it and provides a universal solution to charging, is an outdated way of thinking.

And one last comment. Even a lot of the working chargers with the same port are becoming, and will become ‘waste’, as the new chargers become more powerful and charge phones faster. People will want the newer, quicker ones, and that has nothing to do with regulating the port shape itself. Innovation always leads to waste of whatever becomes outdated. It also leads to the creations that drive our world forward. Let’s not forget that.