The trend is on the rise for top mobile phone manufacturing companies to ship the device without earphones and chargers. While they say that the move is to lessen the pollution caused due to electronic waste but most consumers do not agree with the same.
Who started the trend and when?
In 2020 Apple started the trend when it shipped its consignment of iPhones without chargers which sparked quite an outrage. Users protested Apple’s unwillingness to lower the prices, While the company said that the decision was simply to reduce plastic waste.
The trend being followed
Within the next two years, other manufacturers decided to join the bandwagon starting with Samsung. It is releasing its S22 series without the charger and earphones bundled in the box. The director of Internet and Mobile experience at Samsung, Charles Kimari, said that the decision is based on the plan chalked out by the company to manage e-waste.
Oppo is also on its way to adopting the trend. The manufacturers are arguing that since most smartphones last up to three years, the users are left with a pile of chargers that they do not need anymore. So, it does not seem prudent to send them more of the things they already have.
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However, it is not always true, sometimes the chargers do not last as long as even the device it came with. Moreover, when people change their brand or models, the charger pin has to be different as well, which they may not have already. Also, if people choose to go from Android to iOS or vice versa, then again, they would need different types of chargers.
The users in many consumer economies including Kenya expressed their discontent with the change. Their main concern is cost stagnation.
A site clerk at Mahiga Homes Limited, Christopher Mwangi said, “If the old charger would serve me well with the new gadget, then it is only logical not to get a new one, but the new phone should come at a lower price. Alternatively, phone makers can ship different packages, some with the in-box accessories and others without, price them differently and let the consumer make a choice.”
Mercy Gachuiri, a ticket manager at the Nairobi Expressway said, “Buying a charger and earphones separately means they come in different boxes which is actually a negation of any gains made in as far the reduction of carbon footprint is concerned.” She believes that the move is just a cosmetic argument to cut costs.
She further stated, “Instead of creating a slightly bigger box that can accommodate the phone and the accessories, manufacturers will now have to make two different packages for both the phone and the charger meaning more waste. This is just a cover for them to make more cash.”
Both the Ambassador of Kenya and Prof. Bitange Ndemo of Belgium view the shift as a great opportunity for Kenya to release its innovative self.
Prof. Ndemo responded to Business Daily queries saying, “This is an opportunity window that Kenya should grab and run with. Our young people now have the chance to widen their innovative scope and start the manufacture of chargers. The local market is about to get huge. If given the correct government support, the sector could be a huge point of an economic turnaround.”
The change of model may significantly disrupt the phone market as users are expected to use GAN or Gallium Nitride chargers or similar technologies. These are more compact and let charging multiple devices at the same time with one adapter.