While the free-market works pretty well when, uh, left alone to be free, sometimes it needs a push from a visible hand. Case in point, phone chargers; at the moment some 30 different types of chargers are used with handsets throughout Europe. Today, the European Commission received industry backing of its phone charger standard that relies on a micro-USB socket. The standard is now backed by all the majors (representing 90% of the European mobile market) including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Apple, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung and Texas Instruments with compatible devices starting to appear in Europe next year. Or course, the micro-USB charger standard already has the blessings of CTIA, OMTP, and GSM Association which implies a broader adoption beyond Europe, someday. One charger for any mobile phone... where's the catch?

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Nokia, Apple, RIM and others agree on micro-USB phone charger standard for Europe