If you’ve ever been the owner of a Samsung in an office of iPhone users, you’ll know the excruciating annoyance of having a dying battery and no one to lend you a charger.
Well, over in Europe, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have had quite enough, and are calling for an end to this nonsense.
MEPs voted to update a law on EU radio equipment, making it mandatory to at least try to develop a common charger for mobile phones sold in the EU.
The original directive provides guidelines for the development of radio equipment and other technologies. It’s intended to help the EU stay on top of tech advances, by preventing manufacturers from interfering with one another, and tripping each other up.
A draft of the new directive has already been informally agreed to, stipulating the need to work with common chargers will be necessary for radio equipment — including mobile phone.
“This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment,” German MEP and rapporteur for the directive said in a statement.
“It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually.”
While only strictly affecting the European market, the move could have global ramifications.
According to Statista, the mobile phone segment in Europe is worth more than US$100 billion, annually, with Samsung’s Galaxy Series and the Apple iPhone series accounting for the lion’s share.
However, The New York Times reports this is not the first time the EU has tried to cajole the big mobile phone players into convenience.
In 2009, the European Commission reached an agreement that required phone providers to match their chargers, but the deal expired in 2014.
Just last year, Apple pushed back on calls for charger regulation.
In a submission responding to a European Commission proposal on the matter, Apple said enforcing conformity would “freeze innovation rather than encourage it”.
“Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers,” the response said.