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Thursday 2 October 2014

One-charger law won't hit smartphone makers

Published 14/03/2014 | 02:30

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EU Commissioner Tajani and Cosgrave, Director General of DigitalEurope, display an harmonised mobile phone charger during a news conference in Brussels...European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani and Bridget Cosgrave (L), Director General of DigitalEurope, display an harmonised mobile phone charger during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels February 8, 2011.     REUTERS/Francois Lenoir    (BELGIUM - Tags: BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY)...I
EU Commissioner Tajani and Cosgrave, Director General of DigitalEurope, display an harmonised mobile phone charger during a news conference in Brussels.

THE necessity of having different phone-charger cables is set to continue after mobile phone manufacturers said they would use a loophole to dodge a new EU law aimed at harmonising mobile phone chargers.

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The universal charger directive passed by the European Parliament was supposed to give ordinary people relief from separate charging mechanisms for tablets and smartphones.

But a loophole will allow phone makers to continue supplying different connector cables with their phones.

The loophole means that iPhone and Android users will continue to have separate cables when charging their smartphones.

"I think some people make the wrong assumption that this means we have to have the same connectors," said Paul Meller, communications director for Digital Europe, which represents Apple, Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers.

"But this is not what the lawmakers are talking about at all. When we talk about harmonisation of the charger, we are only talking about the bit that goes into the wall. The other part, which is the cable that connects the charger to the phone, can remain individualised. I'm not sure that people are quite understanding that fully."

Mr Meller said that he was not concerned that the directive might include a provision on common connectors before being passed into law in two years' time.

"We see no evidence of that, no," he said.

Labour MEP Phil Prendergast had expressed hope that the issue might help consumers fed up with different cables.

"The myriad of mobile phone, smartphone and tablet models out there come together with a jungle of charger cables that, more often than not, are incompatible," she said. "Some device manufacturers even change their standards when updating their models. All of this leads to much inconvenience for consumers but also to a lot of otherwise avoidable electronic waste."

However, the loophole in the directive will mean that smartphone owners will continue to require different charging cables.

Mr Meller said that it was a good thing that manufacturers didn't have to have the same connectors.

Irish Independent

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