Easily Replaceable phone batteries might be back.
We are up for that!
The EU is declaring that mobile batteries should be ‘readily removable.’
Just the other day, I found myself sorting through a heap of vintage tech gear, the sort of stuff that harkens back a decade or so, attempting to talk myself into finally discarding phones I hadn't touched in years. Among these antiquated relics, I stumbled upon a spare battery. This was the kind of battery I used to tote around for emergencies when my phone's energy depleted.
There was a period, believe it or not, when smartphones had interchangeable batteries. It was a simpler time; we didn't have to lug around bulky portable chargers or frantically seek out a power outlet to resuscitate a dying phone (assuming, of course, you'd brought along a charger). Instead, all you had to do was remove the back cover of your phone, swap the drained battery for a fresh one, and continue merrily on your journey.
Nonetheless, there came a moment when manufacturers—and likely a majority of consumers—opted for sleek and lightweight smartphones, so slim that it left no space for a non-permanent battery. Additionally, the desire for water and dust resistance grew, which proved challenging with devices that could be opened with ease. As a result, little by little, the era of replaceable batteries phased out, and we all adapted to the practice of lugging around chargers or cables for those 'just in case' situations, especially when dealing with an aging phone battery.
I must confess, the first time I purchased a phone with a fixed battery, I was a bit irked. It likely mirrored the sentiments of a music lover buying a phone with impressive audio capabilities but no audio jack—you can adapt to the change, but you wish it wasn't necessary.
However, there's a glimmer of hope that we might revert to the old ways. In 2020, the European Parliament proposed new battery regulations, which included a provision mandating that "Portable batteries integrated into appliances should be easily removable and replaceable by the end-user or by independent operators throughout the appliance's lifespan." (There were also other regulations for batteries used in various vehicles and industries.) In September 2022, the EU achieved a provisional agreement to advance these laws. By June 14th, 2023, the European Parliament had ratified it, issuing a press statement clarifying that portable batteries must be designed so that "consumers can themselves easily remove and replace them" (emphasis added by them).