Wednesday, February 14, 2007

USBCell to offer phone and device batteries that can be charged via USB

USBCell makes some nifty regular size batteries (i.e., AA) that can be charged using USB -- super-useful if you use a lot of AA batteries; when I had the old pager-style Blackberry, I used to carry around a Ziploc bag full of rechargeable batteries because the charger was too big to drag around with me on business trips.  See the USBCell product below:

Now USBCell wants to get into the mobile phone and device game by creating batteries for devices like Blackberries and digital cameras that can be charged via USB.  Here's a shot of what the product will look like:

Ok, let me address the devices separately:

  • Phones, Blackberries, etc. -- the vast majority of mobile phones and devices these days are coming with the ability to charge via USB, in fact the RAZR in the picture above charges via USB.  What's nice about the USBCell product is that the USB cable is contained within the battery, so you don't have to worry about bringing a cable with you.  However, if you're anything like me, you'll probably have a USB cable with you anyway for some connection function, and it's not worth skipping the cable to risk losing the back cover of my device while traveling.  I suppose that one very useful application of this product would be if you are a person that uses multiple batteries throughout the course of the day; most spare battery chargers are big and cumbersome and this would be a much more ideal solution.

  • Cameras, electronics, etc. -- the vast majority of electronics do not support charging by USB and many require the removal of the battery for charging anyway, so being able to not have to carry a proprietary charger would be very cool; also, due to the fact that batteries have to be removed for charging, most electronics have some sort of system to prevent losing the battery lid.  A perfect example of why I would buy this product is my Cannon ELPH SD400 & SD500: both cameras require removal of the battery for charging, both cameras use a proprietary charger that requires physical insertion of the battery (i.e., it's a too big plastic box), and the proprietary charger unit is different for both cameras (i.e., if we are traveling with both cameras, we have to take both chargers).

I'll be keeping an eye on this product to see where it comes out from a pricing perspective.


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