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The EU isn't giving up its quest for a universal charger that works with all phones and tablets

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Neelie Kroes, Brussels
Neelie Kroes, Brussels

EU officials have insisted that cellphone makers stick to micro USB ports for charging, and now they want manufacturers to include universal chargers that are compatible with any smartphone or tablet. The Internal Market Committee today introduced a proposal calling for such chargers to become the industry norm, a measure it says would cut down on unnecessary accessory clutter for consumers. "We urge member states and manufacturers finally to introduce a universal charger, to put an end to cable chaos for mobile phones and tablet computers", said Barbara Weiler. Should the proposed amendment eventually become law, hardware manufacturers would be required to ensure compatibility with a designated universal charger.

The proposal isn't exactly a groundbreaking concept; officials have been working to make universal chargers a reality for years now. As it stands, existing chargers are often interoperable with various devices, though certain Android products can sometimes prove finicky. The legislative resolution was adopted unanimously by the committee, which says it will "decide later whether to start informal negotiations with the Council in order to seek an early first-reading agreement." The EU's settling on micro USB prompted Apple to introduce an adapter for iOS devices in 2011; the company's proprietary Lightning port remains its default charging mechanism.