European Parliament backs universal smartphone charger regulation

Europe has worked for years to unify smartphones under a single charger — the common microUSB — with major companies expressing their support for the measure as far back as 2009 and getting the microUSB officially set as the charging standard a year or so later. Legislation was introduced by an EU committee last year to require a single charger system, which today received "overwhelming" approval from members of parliament.

Today member of the European parliament — MEPs — voted largely in favor of the single charger requirement, with the regulation forcing handset makers to gravitate to the common charger by 2017, a few short years from now. For now, the regulation sits in draft form, and now requires approval by the council of ministers.

Furthermore, Europe's member states will get until 2016 to have the regulation translated into national laws, giving manufacturers therein a solid 12 months to transition to the universal charger system — something that won't be terribly difficult for many companies already using microUSB with their devices, Apple being the largest exception.

The benefits of the move are said to be numerous, the most obvious of which making it easier for consumers to acquire a charger for their device. Another benefits, law makers have said, is a reduction in electronic waste, as well as clutter from having to utilize several different charging cables.