The Guardian reports on the mobile 'phone industry's intention to develop a single charger, a charger of chargers and plug amongst plugs that will rise above all other chargers and, well, charge phones. The specification is for a 50% reduction in energy consumption (why not 99?) and if I'm seeing the bigger picture correctly, we'd see reduced emissions from the manufacture, distribution and of course waste of chargers in the longer term. New phone? Well no need for a new charger in the future. Lost charger? Just buy the universal charger. This has to be seen as a progressive step, even if it doesn't take us towards renewable powered phones (Like this new Samsung offering), but that's another debate for another day. There's also the broader question of environmental sustainability regarding mobiles, which the Guardian article touches on.
Good stuff and from a market point of view, interesting: Mobile phones are marketed as lifestyle devices and consumers are sold each phone as a unique badge of identity (see the first cell phone ad here), a symbol of the consumers supposed business acumen, or need to connnect or love of music...whatever fits the market niche. So it's ironic that the manufacturers have stepped up to the plate with a paralell recognition that nobody really cares what their charger looks like. That said, you can expect a range of diamond encrusted universal chargers to emerge once those with the bent towards wasting money realise that they're subject to the same perfectly adequate technology as everybody else.
Anyway, I keep leaving my charegr in hotel rooms, so this new development at least increases the chances of me being able to borrow somebody elses when I next do this.