Geardiary.com has a interesting post up about how more devices, especially cell phones, are using Micro-USB instead of Mini-USB, and how it's partially a ploy to get you to buy more overpriced charging adapters.
It's a good conspiracy theory that's hard to argue with, but it also seems clear that the shift to Micro-USB is about saving space in building the device.
Last week, CNET's Marguerite Reardon reported that the GSMA trade associationwith the leading cell phone manufacturers to standardize on Micro-USB. Conspicuously missing from the list was Apple, maker of the iPhone, but the idea is that by the year 2012 (seems like a long way off, doesn't it?), virtually all cell phones--and hopefully all Bluetooth headsets--will have the same connector.
That would make life a lot easier for anybody who's ever left a charger at home and hopes to find someone with a matching charger (or go buy an overpriced one at the store).
I--and many others--hope the standardization extends to a lot of other gadgets. The Kindle 2 has shifted to Micro-USB for charging and data transfers, and it should be a no-brainer for next-gen MP3 players, digital cameras, and camcorders, plus portable game consoles (the Nintendo DS uses a weird proprietary hybrid USB charger), to make the shift.
Alas, high-margin charging accessories are huge revenue generators for companies, so I have my doubts that manufacturers are so keen on the idea of a universal connector that's a total commodity.
Someone would probably cry foul if everybody else shifts to Micro-USB, and Apple says, "Sorry guys; this is bad for business. You can be idiots, but we'll pass." Or Apple could have its cake and eat it, too, by agreeing to move to Micro-USB for charging but requiring users to use the 30-pin proprietary connector for syncing and accessory compatibility.
In the meantime, as they sort all this out, I hope that they come up with a simple two-headed Micro/Mini charger that offers more charging flexibility in a single accessory (yes, there are some three-in-one kits out there, but I couldn't find a simple two-headed cable).