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One plug to fuel them all: EU to standardise phone chargers

From next year, Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and others have agreed to use the same type of phone charger -- no more hunting round for a plug that fits just one phone

"Has anyone got a Nokia charger, I need one quick," you screamed across the office. "Only Samsungs here," came a reply. "Just Motorola, sorry!" came another. "BlackBerry here, hun," shouted that new chick in HR.

This type of call-and-response frustration, dear hearts, will soon be a thing of the past. It has been announced that from 2010 onwards, Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, RIM and other manufacturers have agreed to support one standard phone charger that uses the Micro-USB connector.

Notably absent from the list of phone makers jumping on the Micro-USB bandwagon -- a wagon we endorse the jumping on, by the by -- is HTC and Sagem. They could, of course, join at a later date, or just use Micro-USB anyway without signing the EU's 'Memorandum of Understanding'.

The first discussion of this news came in 2007, when we reported that a bunch of manufacturers had shaken hands on using a single standard for charging phones. China agreed on a similar plan a year earlier.

Speculation on the Net concerns Apple actually adding a Micro-USB socket to its iPhone. If you thought this would happen, you may want to give your brain a rinse and retry thinking -- it won't get rid of the Universal Dock, or clutter its design. What you can expect, rather, is that Apple will ship a Micro-USB-to-Universal Dock adaptor with the chargers it sells separately.

But it still means fewer redundant chargers being chucked in landfills, fewer spares cluttering your home, and that's worth a thousand smiles. Though it also means phones will begin to be sold without chargers in the box.

Good news or bad? Spit your thoughts and opinions out below.