And that standard had sure as hell better be USB-C
It’s finally happening: in just a couple short years, all smartphones sold in Europe will have to support a common charger, and that means USB-C. While practically all Android phones that matter already embrace the industry standard, Apple’s going to have to swallow its pride and upgrade its hardware if it wants to keep doing business in the EU. And while this is all an undeniable victory for consumers, what about those of us who aren’t in Europe? A group of US senators is on the case, and this week expressed its demands that America legislate its own standard for a common charger.
Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Ed Markey wrote to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, urging her to push the Department of Commerce towards addressing the unacceptably prevalent problem of incompatible charger standards (PDF, via The Verge). The senators are quick to point to the EU’s efforts along the same line, applauding it for prioritizing the public interest over any preferences of device manufacturers.
While they don’t directly advocate for USB-C, their insistence upon “a common US charging standard” doesn’t really support any other interpretation — Android phones aren’t about to adopt Lightning en masse.
Even with that victory in the EU, convincing the US to go USB-C could be a much more fiercely contested battle. Here, iPhones represent a solid half of the smartphone market, while their share in Europe is only 25% (per Counterpoint Research). That potentially gives Apple a tremendous boost to its leverage, and even though we’ve heard that the company could already be working on USB-C for its phones, so far it has yet to make any public commitment.