New USB-C rule may spare some gadgets


India is likely to exclude featurephones, wearables and hearables from having a USB Type-C port for mobiles and electronics that the government is proposing to make mandatory by March 2025, in line with requirements being put in place by the EU.

A senior official said the exclusion is being considered in principle after industry players who could get impacted by the move raised concerns about input costs becoming high which would make featurephones much costlier.

“For mobiles and electronics, USB Type-C port has been made mandatory, the industry players are also in board, but for featurephones, wearables and hearables, stakeholders have said that costs would increase,” the official said.

He added that India, unlike the EU, had a large 250 million-strong market for featurephones which does not use USB Type-C chargers. India is also the world’s largest market for wearables and hearables, which use different types of USB charging points. This makes it different from developed markets of Europe where most users are smartphone users and a good majority of them use iPhones. The government has created a subcommittee to decide on a common charging point for hearables and wearables.

As per EU directions all smartphones including iPhones sold in its member- states should come with a common USB Type C charger from 28 December, 2024. Laptop makers have been given till 2026 to comply. India will follow similar timelines but will give companies three to four months more to comply, officials said.

Laptop makers in India will also have to include USB Type C charger ports in all the models for which a redesign will take place for all manufacturers at large scale, necessitating a longer timeline of two years.

Globally, over 98% Android smartphones use USB Type-C as charging port, while iPhones rely on proprietary Lightning port.

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