The removal of wall chargers from smartphone packaging is currently a trend that is being set in motion by various manufacturers. This is mostly influenced by Apple’s decision to exclude the accessory from all of its current and future product releases, with a noble aim of further reducing its carbon footprint to lessen any negative impact towards the environment.
Of course, this decision was initially met with mockery by competitors such as Samsung and Xiaomi, who took the opportunity to remind consumers that their smartphones still come with chargers as part of the package. However, the joke did not age well in the short term, as these same brands ironically followed Apple’s lead and also excluded the item from their recent releases not long after.
So what’s next to be removed from smartphone boxes? Here are the list of accessories we speculate that will potentially be affected – with factors such as material usage and production costs placed in consideration:
1. Manuals And Miscellaneous Documents
Manuals and other documents such as warranty cards and product safety guides are perhaps the most likely candidate to get the axe from manufacturers. The reason is simple: manuals and documents require paper, and you’d know by now where the material originates from. Can’t save the environment if cutting down trees for pieces of paper that barely anyone reads is still part of the process.
Additionally, brands would also often package these documents in separate boxes of their own along with the other contents. Therefore, removing them entirely would further reduce the required resources and costs in production.
Let’s say there are people out there who still reads including manuals and so on, what is the compromise that brands are required to take to rectify this? There are several options actually.
We now live in a world where digital-based approaches are commonplace, so the wisest thing a smartphone manufacturer can do is to include a QR code on the box that link to an online manual for the product. It shouldn’t be a problem warranty-wise either, as companies like Samsung and Apple already have online services for consumers to manage their coverage, claims, validity and extension.
2. SIM Eject Tool
Ah yes, the SIM eject tool – the other taken-for-granted accessory that comes with every smartphone packaging. It is indeed useful, especially when you’re excited to plop in your SIM card into a brand new handset after the obligatory unboxing ritual. Not to mention, it is very likely the only time you’ll be using it as well.
In most cases, consumers tend to use the SIM eject tool that is included with their new purchase, instead of digging up for an existing one from an old smartphone box. This leads to wastage, much with other contents that are usually left untouched.
The potential removal of this tool isn’t the end of the world. Sure, it would cause inconvenience for many, but this also encourages consumers to appreciate their existing ones by keeping it close by for future uses. Plus, its not like SIM eject tools are rare in any way, as these can be commonly bought at various phone stores or accessory shops.
3. First Party Plastic Cases
A complementary accessory that is still included in a good number of smartphone releases , and a convenience for those who couldn’t be arsed to buy a more worthwhile case for their new device. These painfully basic (but still useful) first party plastic casings are often grouped together along with included documents in the same interior box within a packaging.
The fact that this accessory itself is made from plastic material is a shining beacon of its inevitable exclusion. So much so that various smartphone brands have gradually stopped including complementary casings in their recent releases for that reason alone. Its removal would also benefit manufacturers in terms of cost and material reduction, so there’s barely anything to grieve when they are eliminated altogether.
So what’s the compromise? Well, you can either encourage yourself to take extremely great care of your smartphone without one, or just bite the bullet and buy a first/third party casing that it truly deserves.
4. Charging Cables
Added to the list of taken-for-granted accessories that are abundant in anyone’s collection are phone charging cables. They’re always included with every smartphone release, and that is more than enough reasoning for brands to potentially give it the axe.
The inclusion of these cables are often complementary, especially to go along with compatible wall chargers prior to this. But even on its own, this accessory is nothing more than just added convenience. Not forgetting the fact that consumers can easily buy these, first party or otherwise, at any gadget stores nearby.
Charging cables is likely going to be something that manufacturers will definitely consider removing from future smartphone releases. But the question remains: who’s going to make the first move? My bet’s on Apple because, of course.
Bonus: You’ll Still Get Earphones… In France
Along with the removal of wall chargers, Apple revealed that Earpods will no longer be included with future products as well. Naturally, other brands also followed suit soon after – namely the recently released phones from Samsung and OPPO, among others.
Interestingly, those who insist on owning a new smartphone with earphones included (for whatever reason) will be delighted to know that they can secure such a package in France. This is because smartphone makers are required to include earphones or hands-free accessories along with the device by law.
The reason behind this is to protect children age 14 and younger from electromagnetic radiation exposure from smartphones, according to a summary of the law. And yes, France is the only country that has this requirement.
And What Comes After This?
The most possible outcome is the smartphone packaging itself, which will likely shrink in size due to the removal of the extra goodies in the long run. Suffice to say, the reduced number of material usage and production costs would greatly benefit brands and of course, provide them with additional PR brownie points.
That last bit is cynical, but at least smartphone makers are contributing to the improvement of the environment. Even though they’ll take every chance to brag about it during launches and such.
But that can’t be all, right? Well, the next one is probably the most drastic yet.
As demonstrated by Xiaomi with its recently revealed concept device, there is a possibility that brands are playing around with the idea of having a fully wireless smartphone. Which basically means no more ports for charging and data transfer, therefore relying more on tech such as wireless charging, Bluetooth, NFC, cloud storage, Airdrop/Nearby Share data transfers, and eSIM.
This is just a speculation for now, but it isn’t something easily ruled out from happening in the future. Plus, a fully wireless smartphone wouldn’t require all of the aforementioned accessories either, so there’s that.