There's been talk of bringing in a universal phone charger across Europe for years now, but the project just took a leap forward as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of the scheme this week.

That doesn't mean it's a done deal, but it's another step in the right direction for those sick of needing a million different wires and connectors for the household's various portable devices.

If Europe's council of ministers approve the legislation, it will force all phone manufacturers to use the same charger - most likely micro USB - for all smartphones by 2017.

Apple flavour

Many phone makers are already down with the micro USB connector, but Apple, which signed on to the scheme some years ago, is still rocking its own Lightning connector.

It hasn't made any kind of response to this week's news yet but it has said in the past that it will not change its actual smartphones - rather it will provide an adapter in order to comply with the ruling in Europe.