common charger plugs

i've been a bit ill over christmas and new years, so didn't see too much design related things to post about, but i did read about this bit of good news on the bbc technology website: "phone firms to back common charger plan".

Technical specifications for chargers drawn up by the European Commission have won the backing of 14 phone firms. Firms that have pledged to make chargers to the common standard include Nokia, Research In Motion, Apple and Samsung. The first chargers produced to the specifications are expected to be available in early 2011.

The common chargers will be based around micro-USB technology and could see the end of proprietary power ports on handsets. The process to create common chargers began in June 2009 when the Commission won pledges from phone firms to back any standards it drew up.

Following that agreement it started work on the specifications that have now been completed and sent out to handset makers. The EU said many Europeans wanted to be able to use chargers for different smartphones and resented the inconvenience incompatible chargers caused.

Also, it said in a statement, eliminating the need to get a new charger when a phone was replaced had environmental benefits as it reduced the need to dispose of an old, but probably fully functional, charger. The specifications only cover chargers for smartphones because, said the Commission, these are likely to be the most widely used type of phone in Europe within the next two years.