Here's a rare occasion where it may serve us well to copy the Europeans: The European Union has voted overwhelmingly in favour of introducing a single, universal charger for all mobile phones sold across the continent.
The vote, which took place late last week and was somewhat of landslide with 550 votes in favour and just 12 against, is part of a bid to update radio equipment laws. Essentially, it's legislation stipulating how consumer electronics like mobile phones are brought to market, and the update is broadly designed to ensure that devices work together harmoniously, and are built and used sustainably.
The upshot: an effort to develop a single universal charger for mobile consumer electronic devices. Currently, the proposed technology of choice is the micro USB connector — already used in plenty of devices anyway. It's not clear exactly how wide the enforced net will fall — just mobiles, or extending to tablets and other devices — but the European Commission will now decide which types of radio equipment have to meet the requirement.
Following formal approval by the European Council, member states will be given two years to import the rules into national laws and then manufacturers would have a further year to comply. That means it would be 2017 before it came into full effect, which is a long time! But it should also serve as inspiration to us: a single, globally accepted mobile charger would be a wonderful thing. How about it, lawmakers? [European Parliament via Wired]