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EU votes to adopt single charging cable for portable games consoles, tablets, phones

Confusion over whether Northern Ireland included.

The European Union has voted to adopt a single charger design for use across all portable games consoles, smartphones, tablets and laptops sold in the region.

Technology manufacturers will now be required to use USB-C charging ports in all smartphones and tablets sold in the region from 2024, and in laptops from 2026. Mice, keyboards, headphones are also included.

As previously reported, the UK decided to opt out out of being included in this initiative when it was first proposed, despite its aims to cut electronic waste and generally make things a bit easier for those with a drawer full of random Lightning cables, micro-USB and mini-USB wires. Thanks Brexit!

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It's also thanks to Brexit that this situation has caused confusion over what this means for Northern Ireland - which, as BBC News notes, is still being treated as in the EU market for goods under terms of the Northern Ireland protocol.

This means - unless things change by 2024, and at this point who knows - Northern Ireland being included in the single charging design initiative too, unlike the rest of the UK.

It remains to be seen whether companies like Apple decide to continue using their own cables in devices sold outside the EU - in the UK and the rest of the world - post-2024, or whether they decide to move over to a single USB-C design globally.

Apple has been the key opponent to this initiative in the past, opting instead to use its proprietry Lightning cable design since 2012.

Elsewhere, all of Nintendo's current Switch models use USB-C already, as does Valve's Steam Deck.

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Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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