An end may be in sight for the annoying problem of every mobile handset having its own proprietary charger.

Ten companies have submitted a Memorandum of Understanding to the European Commission promising to standardise charging from 2010 onwards around the Micro-USB connector.

The ten are: Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Texas Instruments. The EC has published a FAQ explaining the move.

"I am very pleased that industry has found an agreement, which will make life much simpler for consumers," says the EC's Gunter Verheugen. "They will be able to charge mobile phones anywhere from the new common charger. This also means considerably less electronic waste because people will no longer have to throw away chargers when buying new phones."

The EC had been putting pressure on handset makers to come up with a common solution. It says the first generation of inter-chargeable handsets will go on sale in Europe next year.