The unified charger for all mobiles was proposed back in June 2009 and the European Commission finalized talks with the 14 major manufacturers about the unified charger. The charger has now begun sampling.
Manufacturers are now ready with the sample microUSB chargers and the implementation process has stared based on the specifications everybody agreed on in December 2010. The manufacturers that have signed the agreement are Apple, Emblaze Mobile, Huawei Technologies, LGE, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung, SonyEricsson, TCT Mobile (ALCATEL mobile phones), Texas Instruments and Atmel.
Using a common charger will certainly make it easier for all users, which currently have to use to every different phone with a different charger. The environment is sure to benefit from it also, as approximately 4 000 tons of accessories are thrown away by users, yearly.
The new common European phone charger should hit the shelves this year. The European Commission has created a dedicated website for the new charger. You can find it at onechargerforall.eu.
Oh, and here's the somewhat gross video ad of the EU campaign. We honestly think they could have done better, creatively, you know.
By the way, if you're wondering what will happen with the proprietary port that Apple seem so keen on, the memorandum on the common charger allows for multimodal charging and also permits any of the companies to use a proprietary socket, as long as it supplies an adapter to charge the device with the universal charger. What that means is that Apple could either add a separate microUSB port on their next iPhone that can do the charging beside the original port, or they can add an adapter that would allow iPhones to be charged with a microUSB charger.Source