A universal mobile charger that's currently in development has been adjusted to ensure other devices including MP3 players and tablet PCs can be charged using it.

The charger was first given the go-ahead by the by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2009. The universal charger comprises a power adaptor and a detachable cable that with USB and micro-USB connectors built to a standard that ensures they can transfer data and charge devices from different manufacturers.

The charger is based on a standard put forward by the GSM Association, and has been backed by hardware manufacturers including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, as well as all of the UK's major network operators

It is hoped the device will reduce the number of chargers that are discarded when mobile phone users purchase new handsets, but will also allow users to power-up their mobiles anywhere from any available charger, while also reducing the energy consumed. Furthermore, as devices won't need to be shipped with their own chargers, it will reduce packaging sizes and shipping costs.

"This updated standard will bring the benefits of the universal charger to a wider range of devices and consumers. I am sure it will be welcomed by all ITU's membership - 192 governments and over 700 private-sector entities," said the ITU's secretary-general Hamadoun Touré.

The ITU also said the charger will only consume 0.03W of power when plugged in but not in use.

"Other standards claim to be universal and energy efficient, but only ITU's solution is truly universal and a real step forward in addressing environmental and climate-change issues."