I stop at the gas station on my way out of town, because my iPod is low on battery life and I don't have a car charger. Perusing the selection on the shelves, I come away with the ultimate solution. At one end, a car cigarette lighter type adapter, at the other a long line of connectors that can be disconnected based on your mp3 player of choice. "Fits almost all popular mp3 players!" it says across the front of the package.
This is a scenario I'm sure every one of us has gone through. If not, then I'm sure you have replaced your charger every single time you've gotten a cell phone upgrade. Every company on the tech market has their own unique plug ends. It's their way of forcing you to spend more money on the chargers that they make.
Why do we let companies get away with this? What we plug into the ends of our fancy new gadgets, is not what the companies that made them survive on. The chargers that they make for their devices are just a means to further pad the CEO's wallets.
What we need is a government mandate stating one set phone and mp3 player charger as the sole design. Sure, you'll probably argue that it's not the governments place to block the profits of a company, but it is their place to help stop consumer price gouging. Making us buy a $30 or more charger every time we buy a new phone is ridiculous.
The money isn't the end to the benefits that we'd see from this change though. Think about a world with one standard charger/adapter to all of our phone/mp3 players. All of sudden, car makers woud be able to design mp3 player docking stations into the consoles of their cars. Chargers could pop out of the cup holders and be able to charge any phone or music device you owned.
No more carrying around a tape deck adapter, aux cable, and fm tuner, just so you'd be able to connect your iPod to every car you happen to be in. You'd now know that no matter what car you get into, there'd be a way to connect or charge your device. Now THAT my friend, is a world I want to live in.