Universal charging system could be coming to wearables

Universal charging system could be coming to wearables
By December 28th, 2024, all new devices sold in the European Union (EU), including the iPhone, must use a USB-C charger. This means that consumers don't need to buy a new charger with the purchase of a new electronic product as long as they have a USB-C cable lying around. Android phones already charge using USB-C ports so this is not a hardship to the manufacturers of Android-powered devices.

For Apple, it means that in Europe anyway, the proprietary Lightning cables won't be generating as much income. It also means less electronic waste to dispose of in the continent as consumers hold on to their old USB-C cords instead of throwing them out. Consumers in the EU are expected to save up to 250 million euros (equivalent to $264.4 million) each year since they won't need to buy new chargers and cables. And the 11,000 tons of e-waste generated annually from the disposal of old chargers could be sharply reduced.

According to Android Police, a similar action is being contemplated for the world's second-largest smartphone market, India. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is thinking along the same lines as the EU in that it would like to save consumers time and money, and reduce e-waste. The Indian Department of Consumer Affairs talked things over with industry stakeholders and is considering forcing manufacturers to use two different types of charging ports.

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets would be forced to use a USB Type-C charger while another type of universal charging system would be ordered for wearable electronic devices. That would include smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wireless earbuds. Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told the Press Trust of India, "In the last meeting, a broad consensus had emerged among stakeholders on the adoption of USB Type C as a charging port for, smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc."

Forcing Apple to convert to USB-C in India might not be anywhere as difficult as coming up with a standard charging platform to cover all wearable devices. Trying to come up with a universal charging system for smartwatches, wireless earbuds, and other wearable devices is going to require long talks with manufacturers. As a result, India is probably still a few years away from passing legislation that requires all wearable devices in the country to use the same charger.

The outlook is much clearer in India for smartphones, tablets, and laptops especially since Android owns a commanding 71% market share in the country. Indian consumers are familiar with USB-C and we wouldn't be surprised to see the country pass a law requiring USB-C charging for all mobile devices before it turns to regulate wearable devices.

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