Samsung may ditch in-box phone chargers with future smartphones

9 Jul 2020

Image: © Creativa Images/

Samsung is reportedly set to exclude in-box chargers from future smartphones. Will it end up being a headache for consumers or good news for the environment?

Last month, reports suggested that Apple plans to exclude earbuds and power adapters from the upcoming iPhone 12, selling the accessories separately as a cost-cutting measure to offset the price of 5G networking components.

Now, it looks like Samsung might be taking a similar approach. According to Korean news site ETNews, the company is reportedly “discussing” plans to drop the in-box charger from its future smartphones.

As Samsung sells millions of smartphones each year, working towards removing charging accessories from its product boxes could result in significant savings, as well as an increase in profits from products bought separately.

According to 9to5Google, Samsung’s reason for potentially excluding the charger is similar to Apple’s. The decision will likely be made to offset the costs of building premium smartphones, as well as making it easier to ship phones in smaller boxes to reduce transport costs.

As it stands, Samsung already ships entry-level smartphones without earphones in the box, so excluding charging accessories may be a natural next step for the company.

Cutting back on e-waste

Charging cables and power adapters have been included as a staple accessory with mobile and smartphones for as long as they have existed. For that reason, many people have several universal power adapters lying around and may not need another to add to the pile.

Despite this, charging accessories are still a basic expectation for consumers purchasing new devices.

In recent years, manufacturers of accessories such as wearables and wireless earphones have decided to forgo power adapters in order to reduce packaging size and the cost of the products.

In 2018, when the Apple Watch Series 3 first shipped without a power adapter, customers were left baffled by the absence of the accessory. Since then, other products and accessories made by Apple and its competitors have come with a lone USB-C or Lightning cable, but no power adapter.

As we approach the introduction of a universal standard for charging cables in the European Union (though with plenty of opposition from Apple), some manufacturers may argue that handing out power adapters with every device or accessory that needs to be charged will unnecessarily contribute to the growing problem of e-waste.

That’s probably true, but consumers may become acutely aware of how removing these accessories still benefits smartphone-makers when it is time to go out and buy a separate power adapter or charging cable, which can be quite expensive when purchased directly from manufacturers.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic