EU Makes USB-C Mandatory On Phones From 2024

While the proposal for a common charging standard initially targeted the burgeoning smartphone segment, in its final avatar the directive mandates manufacturers dealing with other device categories to also adopt USB-C as their default connectivity and charging standard.

The category of devices directly affected by this directive includes mobile phones, e-readers, tablets, wired and wireless headphones/earbuds, handheld video game consoles, portable speakers, and even digital cameras. Interestingly, smartwatches, which have also been a growing category of wearables, seem to have been at least temporarily exempted from adopting USB-C as the default charging standard.

The directive also asks laptop manufacturers to adapt to the new standards within 40 months of the directive going into effect starting autumn 2024. However, given the variable power requirements for laptops that belong to different categories, it might take manufacturers much longer than 40 months to adopt USB-C as the common charging standard for all notebooks.

An interesting addition to the directive is that it mandates the charging speeds to be harmonized for all devices that support fast charging. As things stand today, smartphone brands are known to promote their own fast-charging standards — which are often incompatible with competing standards from other players.

The new directive could lead to manufacturers having to also mandatorily support an open fast-charging standard like USB-PD to ensure fast charging works as intended when their charger is used to charge a device made by another vendor.

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