The European Commission is considering a proposal that would force smartphone manufacturers to use easily replaceable batteries.
One of the primary goals of the proposed legislation is to help reduce e-waste by giving users the ability to replace an aging battery and continue using the phone. As ZDNet highlights, how the EU would go about enforcing it is unknown. Evidently, despite the EU trying to enforce a uniform charging port standard, there are no plans to take a similar approach with batteries. Different manufacturers, shapes, sizes and more all play into how batteries are designed.
Although replaceable batteries used to be quite common in cell phones, the industry has changed dramatically since then. Phones have become larger, while at the same time slimmer. Smartphones are used hours more per day, and for a wider variety of tasks, than old-style flip phones.
Companies often are accused of sealing up their phone cases and using non-replaceable batteries to improve profits by making it difficult to replace the battery and extend the life of the device. In at least some cases, however, there are practical issues. Having a sealed case helps keep dust out and makes it easier to waterproof the phone. It can also be easier to put a larger battery in a sealed phone.
These factors will likely cause manufacturers to push back against the EU’s proposal. Whether they will be successful or not, remains to be seen.