Europe is one step closer to getting rid of all those incompatible mobile chargers in the market. The Members of the European Parliament (MEP) has just voted to support a regulation requiring all manufacturers to comply with a single, universal charger.
This regulation would just make legally binding a practice that is already observed by most manufacturers in the region. Many of them have already adopted the micro-USB standard although there are definitely still some outliers. The new regulation aims not just to make the lives of consumers more convenient but to help reduce e-waste that is worsened by having to buy different chargers for some devices.
Once the regulation has been passed as law, smartphone manufacturers will have until 2017 to be in full compliance. Considering many of them already use micro-USB chargers, anyway, that should not be too much of a problem. The story might be different for Apple, however, which is quite strict about its proprietary chargers and connectors. The company might be forced to make available converters but only for the regions affected.
The fight for universal chargers is not yet over, but it is practically won. The draft still has to pass the Council of the European Union, also sometimes referred to as the Council of Ministers, who has been quite favorable about the idea. Once approved, member states will have up to 2016 to translate the EU regulation into each state's national laws, giving manufacturers who are still waiting for that final phase 12 months to comply.