IEEE Standards Association has several individual working groups on rechargeable batteries for phones, cameras, PCs etc. but a quick look didn't reveal any that are addressing a common charging standard. Seems like these groups should get together.
How much more would you pay for a device that works with a charger you already own? It must be cheaper (in terms of design time, verification and returns) to make your own proprietary charger than to trust whatever the consumer alread has at home.
So with two items on the shelf at, say, $99 and $119, would you buy the latter only because it would give you less clutter?
Despite the move toward USB as the universal charger, it is impossible to avoid having a pile of dedicated chargers -- for your laptop, your portable gaming system, etc. -- or a pile of USB cables with proprietary connectors on the other end.
The pile on my desk looks a lot like Janine's, except that for some reason when my iPod Touch needs a charge, I can never find that special white USB cable...
Another highly annoying thing about the proliferation of chargers - not a single manufacturer that I know of bothers to attach a label to the charger to indicate what device it is intended for. This simple act would be so useful to the end user.
What may help for many of the devices is the use of USB as a standard charging interface--right now, I use a single USB charger for my GPS, Cell phone, MP3 player, backup removeable hard disk drive, and other smaller devices. It solves both the voltage/current rating probkem AND the little-connector problem--whihc can be just as aggravating.
But my laptop needs 20V/4.5A, so USB is not an option.
As we say in calculus: it's a "partial solution"