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Future handheld consoles and phones sold in Europe will need USB-C charging

The EU has mandated new rules about electronic devices sold in Europe.

In a landmark agreement, the European Union has enacted a new law that makes it mandatory for electronic devices sold in the EU to include USB-C as its charging port. This applies to "small and medium-sized portable electronic devices", which includes everything from phones, tablets, portable speakers, e-readers, digital cameras, headphone/earbuds to handheld game consoles.

If the device needs to be charged through a cable, it needs to be equipped with a USB-C port. This will allow common USB-C chargers to work regardless of device and manufacturer, cutting down on e-waste. It also means that those devices won't need to ship with a USB-C charger in the box.

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The law goes in effect by fall 2024 (24 months), but it first needs to be approved by EU Parliament and Council later this year. Laptops are also included in the law's purview, but they instead have a longer deadline of 40 months. This has to do with the varying power requirement for the various laptops, which would make forcing a single standard difficult.

The EU will use this time to come up with a charger standard that meets these requirements. According to the press release, the new law also features regulations for fast charging speeds (for devices that support it). In essence, this allows all chargers to produce the same fast charging speeds regardless of device.

"Consumers will be provided with clear information on the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible," the press release says.

"Buyers will also be able to choose whether they want to purchase new electronic equipment with or without a charging device."

In the future, the EU wants to do the same for wireless charging standards, to ensure interoperability in a similar way.

This is actually something the EU has been working towards for over a decade, but is only now being turned into law.

Most game consoles today include USB-C in one form or another. The two most popular handhelds, the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck, both support USB-C charging. Home consoles, such as the PS5, also allow owners to recharge the DualSense controller using a USB-C cable/connection.

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