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USB Batteries 248

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the novelty-items dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Tired of paying for new batteries all the time? Tired of searching for the charger for your rechargeable batteries? Worry not, because these new AA batteries will recharge direct from your USB port! This is such a cool idea, that I cant believe that no one has done it before." At $24 each I would hate to lose or break them on a regular basis.
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USB Batteries

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  • Too bad the one in my keyboard is unpowered, and my tower is in such an awkward position. :(
    • That's nothing, I have six ports, and only the two in front are powered. Needless to say I wasn't the one who did that. Also, there is a mic port and a headphone port in front, both of which have a solid piece of plastic behind them. I mean, I wouldn't mind if they had removed the ports, but when I first got this comp I tried forever to figure out how the hell I was supposed to fit my plug in (it's impossible to see it's solid plastic unless you open up the case and look inside).
    • by dch24 (904899) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:23PM (#16149825) Journal
      No wireless. Less space than a Nomad.

      Lame.
    • Yep...and... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:49PM (#16149997)
      in addition to having less capacity, and being very much more expensive, they recharge more slowly than regular rechargables do in a dedicated charger. If you're putting them into a USB port which is ultimately AC powered, well, why not just use a faster, cheaper, charger.

      And if someone plans on charging off a notebook running under battery power, do they really intend (or are they even able) to run the notebook for the 5 hours needed to recharge these?

      This makes no sense at all, and are certainly nothing to be "excited about." So much for "trusted reviews."
      • Re:Yep...and... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snarkh (118018) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @07:28PM (#16150235)
        Very simple -- if you are travelling, you can recharge them from your notebook when it is plugged in. You don't have to carry an extra charger with you.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by msauve (701917)
          You can easily find rechargable AA cells with twice the capacity of what they offer, and if you're travelling, Sanyo and Maha both make fast rechargers that don't take up any more room than a pair of socks. I have a Sanyo NC-MQH01U, which I got from Costco, complete with 6 2500 mAH AA cells and 2 AA cells, for a bit over $20, less than the cost of two of those 1300 mAH USB batteries. And it will recharge those batteries in a bit over an hour (if charging two at a time), instead of 5.
          • by snarkh (118018)

            I carry a lot of crap when I travel. Laptop, laptop charger, spare laptop battery, cell phone, cell phone charger, camera, camera charger, MP3 player, you get the idea. Plugging all of that in a hotel room is a pain. I would gladly pay $10 extra for getting rid of some of that mess.
            • by 1u3hr (530656)
              would gladly pay $10 extra for getting rid of some of that mess.

              A compact battery charger costs less and doubles as a case to keep a spare set of batteries in. You don't need to power up and leave your laptop on all night just to charge your flashlight batteries either.

      • by timster (32400)
        Maybe it doesn't make sense for organized people like yourself, but personally my problem with rechargables has always been figuring out where I left the charger, which has invariably moved by the time the batteries run dry. And by the time I locate the charger, I've forgotten where I put the discharged batteries.

        Integrating the cell and the charger in a single unit has some advantages.
    • Even powered ports can only deliver ~500mA. That's 4-5 hours to chare an AA. That really sux next to a fast charger.

      USB charging is pretty wasteful of power too. If you use a dedicated charger you can turn off that damn computer.

  • Not so fast... (Score:5, Informative)

    by crazyjeremy (857410) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:49PM (#16149545) Homepage Journal
    Not so fast fellow /.ers. This new product may not be all it's cracked up to be for their price... Unless you have lots of extra ports on your computer and your electronics do not need strong batteries.
    USBCELL batteries have a capacity of 1300mAH which is in line with most NiCd and NiMH batteries though some do go all the way up to 2500mAH. It takes five hours to charge a completely flat battery and an LED on the side will light up to indicate charging, flash for 10 minutes after charging is complete as an alert and switch off after that.
    Uhm... First of all, using USB for this is generally a bad idea. But if you do want to charge batteries via USB: 1300 mAH is NOT in line with most NiCd and NiMH batteries selling these days. The standard for 4 off brand NIMH batteries from Walmart right now is $6 for 2000 mAH to 2500 mAH (depending on if they've restocked recently as the Generic Brand has upped their standard capacity for AA's).
    Let's break this down.

    4 batteries - $6 at Walmart for off brand or $10 - $15 for 4 name brand rechargables.
    Cheap AA/AAA USB Charger $8 from tiger direct. [tigerdirect.com]
    OR
    Better AA/AAA USB Charger $20 from tiger direct. [tigerdirect.com]

    The cheapest route gives you 4 batteries, each with twice the mAH for $14 plus shipping. The most expensive route gives you the same thing for $30 plus shipping. Either way, buying a battery with only 1300 mAH nowadays is like buying a midsized car with a 50 hp engine.

    Bottom line? For novelty reasons, these batteries look interesting and you do not need to carry an additional charger. But at around $16 US apiece they are expensive and WAY underpowered. Additionally, you need one USB slot for each. If you buy a regular USB charger and use standard rechargeable batteries, you can charge several (up to 4) with one USB slot and spend half the money.

    Conclusion? It's a neat novelty backup backup. But it is way to expensive.
    • Whoops, I meant $24 apice, not 16. Man that's even worse.
      • by moro_666 (414422)
        To continue the misery of numbers, i'm pretty sure that the USB port doesn't allow more than 500mA to be drained from it in any position, so a 2500mAh battery would charge 5 hours ... The real fast chargers today can do it in less than half an hour for 2000mAh+ batteries, "regular" fast chargers can do it in 1-2 hours ....

        So this usb chargeable battery offering is : more price, less value ..

        Btw. a schematics and parts to charge your "regular" NiMh batteries from the usb will cost you less t
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by alienw (585907)
          You are wrong. The usb port provides 500mA AT 5 VOLTS. If you convert that down to 1.5V with a buck converter, you could charge a 2500mAh battery in under 1.5 hours.
        • by rogabean (741411)
          And decent chargers can do it in 10 minutes. I have a Rayovac charger I got on sale with 2 batteries for $25.00 that charges both batteries in ~10 minutes. Granted I am restricted to using the special AA batteries they make for it at around ~10.00 for a 2 pack, but charging in 10 minutes is more then worth it.

          Hell I've charged non rechargable batteries in the charger and those charged up *ok*.

          I just don't see any reason to use up 2 USB ports while draining my laptop's battery even faster then it's already d
          • by rts008 (812749)
            "I just don't see any reason to use up 2 USB ports while draining my laptop's battery even faster then it's already discharging."

            You're missing the point- plug in all yer USB batteries to yer Dell, and start a cahin reaction to destroy teh world!!

            All joking aside, I don't see these as anything other than Another Useless USB Toy (tm) for all the clueless USB Toy Fanboi crowd.

        • What about making a little removable USB cap that fits over the rechargeable AA? Don't know how you'd hit the bottom electrode though.
      • by Smidge204 (605297)
        FTA: "£12.99 for two"

        £12.99 GBP = US$24.55

        So they're US$12.28 each. Still like 8 times the price of normal NiMH batteries (4 for ~$6 = $1.50 ea.), but a bit better.
        =Smidge=
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:04PM (#16149688)
      Well sure, for AA it's pointless. But what if you could charge a laptop battery with it? With two of them you could charge the main battery and the spare and never run dry!

      "In this house we obey the laws of Thermodynamics!"
    • Imagine you are on travel. Your battery is discharged. Well it's pretty certain you know where your expensive computer is. And it's pretty certain you know where the battery is--it's the damn thing you need to charge. But where the heck did I misplace that charger. Oh damn, it's at home. Or it's at work or it's in the other computer's computer bag. Out of luck.
      • by raehl (609729)
        If you had spent $6 on a real battery, with double the capacity of your 'nifty' USB battery, it wouldn't need to be recharged in the first place.
      • by rjstanford (69735)
        This is the reason that I only buy celphones, etc, that use mini-USB terminals. I can charge my RAZR and my Garmin GPS from my laptop, and don't have to try to pack those annoyingly bulky chargers. For me, when I'm traveling a lot, that's worth real money.

        Even so, I wouldn't get these batteries. But still, its a good theory.
      • by Ctrl-Z (28806)
        Oh, and it's so difficult to go to the corner store and buy a pack of AA alkalines. Please.
    • by hyfe (641811)
      Conclusion? It's a neat novelty backup backup. But it is way to expensive.
      Heh, capacity is only a big deal if charging / switching is a pain.

      For any computer with a cordless mouse/keyboard, this sounds like a god send. Have two sets, always keep one charged, and your battery troubles will be over forever*. Sounds practical as hell too me.

      * albeit the lower end of forever.

    • by fm6 (162816)
      You're quite right. And the same goes for most of the other silly little USB toys out there. USB is a data interface. Yes, it supplies power too, but is it the best place to get it? Unless you're using the same connection for data, and want to eliminate a little clutter, the answer is no. If the USB port is in a desktop machine or a server, that means wall power is available, and that's cheaper and easier to access. If the USB port is in a portable machine, adding all kinds of useless gizmos to your system
    • wow, i thought a 5 hour charge was bad. that cheap charger you linked says "The Digital Concepts USB AA/AAA jump charger full charges in 16 hours." i'm assuming that's partially because it's charging 2 instead of 1 though. the faster one doesn't say a charging time at all.
    • Exactly. As it is, I run the flash for my digital camera (admittedly a reasonably substantial Canon Speedlite 430EX [canon.com]) off of 4 x 2600 mAH batteries, with a spare set. A couple of 1300 mAH batteries would get very very few shots.
    • I just bought 11000 MAH D cells for US$ 5.5, 2700 MAH AA for USD$ 1.25, and 1000 MAH AAA for USD $ .65. I do not think that these batteries are in the same ballpark. What would make more sense is a charger for regular batteries based off USB.
    • by d.valued (150022)
      Exactly.

      Of course, smaller capacity is directly because the battery itself is 2/3 the size of a normal AA to accomodate the USB charger.

      Then again, getting regular NiMH AA's and rigging up your own small USB based trickle charger isn't that hard...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:50PM (#16149560)
    And not affiliated with the product in any way.

    Thanks for another Slashvert.
  • by hudsonhawk (148194) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:50PM (#16149561)
    The little "L" like symbol means pounds not dollars.

    It's what those crazy Brits use as money.
  • Not really new... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rorschach1 (174480) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:52PM (#16149582) Homepage
    I used to have 'D' cells that'd plug in to a wall outlet, too. Trouble is, a large portion of the volume is devoted to the connector and charging circuit. But if 50% capacity is enough, I suppose they'll work.
  • by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:52PM (#16149587) Homepage
    I thought this might be useful, then I looked at some of my toys that take AA. My old Canon A70 takes 4AA. I use NiMH. I have a charger that can charge 4 batteries at a time. Ummm ... I don't think I even HAVE 4 USB ports :) and even if I did, I don't think they'd all fit. (Because you know how they like to cram a bunch of USB ports together and if you plug in something larger than a regular cable, the slot next to it is wasted)

    So really, it's only useful for say, an MP3 player that takes a single AA battery. But then again, my brother's little samsung mp3 player has a built-in Li Ion battery and a USB plug built in that can flip up. And it's hardly bigger than a AA battery.

    Hmmm .. I'm back to "I can't think of anything useful for it" :)

    • It does look like a gimmick, but charging things from a USB port is not new. I have a USB 'phone charger which is great when I travel. It means I just need one power adaptor for my laptop and none for my 'phone (and since my laptop is a PowerBook, I don't even need an adaptor, I just take the US or EU plug with me).

      • It does look like a gimmick, but charging things from a USB port is not new. I have a USB 'phone charger which is great when I travel. It means I just need one power adaptor for my laptop and none for my 'phone (and since my laptop is a PowerBook, I don't even need an adaptor, I just take the US or EU plug with me).

        You're right. So do I . My treo 600 charges nicely from USB. However, I just don't see the use of charging AA batteries. There are so many better (and cheaper) ways to get AA power.
  • I have a 15 minute quick charger (by Rayovac) and I would hate to go back to having to actually wait hours for my batteries to charge. This is a cool idea, but lets try and speed it up and then I'll be interested.
    • by pla (258480) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @07:16PM (#16150170) Journal
      I have a 15 minute quick charger (by Rayovac) and I would hate to go back to having to actually wait hours for my batteries to charge. This is a cool idea, but lets try and speed it up and then I'll be interested.

      For the longevity of your batteries (ie, the reason you pay about 4x as much for rechargeables in the first place), you really should use an intelligent trickle-charger (around C/10) with an automatic pre-charging discharge. I seriously suspect the battery manufacturers (such as Rayovac) came up with the idea of a 15-minute charge just to drastically shorten the life of your rechargeables. It has to seriously hurt their profitability that we can now use a single set of batteries that will last for five to ten years if properly maintained.

      It amazes some of my friends (who, like you, use a 4C flash charger) that I have 5 year old NiMH batteries that, after several hundred charge cycles, not only still work, but still hold over 90% of their stated capacity. Well, now you know the secret. Stop abusing your batteries, and just let them charge overnight.

      Keep the flash charger in the car for emergencies, but unless you absolutely need a battery now, don't use it.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        I seriously suspect the battery manufacturers (such as Rayovac) came up with the idea of a 15-minute charge just to drastically shorten the life of your rechargeables.

        I don't recall which chemistry it is (NiMH or NiCAD), but IIRC, charging them fast is a good idea.

        Something about fast charges minimizing dendrite formation
        (you know, the misplaced stuff that causes internal shorts in your batteries)

        I could be wrong. I saw it in an article I found through Google while I was looking up something for a recent /.

        • by pla (258480)
          I don't recall which chemistry it is (NiMH or NiCAD), but IIRC, charging them fast is a good idea.

          I hadn't heard of that for either NiMH or NiCADs, but it does limit the lifetime of Li-ion batteries.

          However, those don't like rapid charging, either, as it GREATLY accelerates electrolyte breakdown... So you have a lose/lose situation there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Powercntrl (458442) *
        For the longevity of your batteries (ie, the reason you pay about 4x as much for rechargeables in the first place), you really should use an intelligent trickle-charger (around C/10) with an automatic pre-charging discharge.

        You're overlooking the fact that if the batteries survive those 4 cycles, you've broken even and everything after that is gravy. I've got one of the Ray-O-Vac 15 minute chargers as well. The batteries have paid for themselves and then some, with no signs of slowing down. And when they
  • I predict these will fail. Today, electronics that one would typically use rechargable batteries come with custom batteries and are self charging. (For example, my MP3 player, camera, and phones use a custom battery and have the charger build into the unit.) Other electronics, like remotes, last so long on a single pair of batteries that using rechargables is pointless.

    Does anyone remember the rechargable ankalines that came out in the mid-90s? (I don't remember the brand name.) I used to use them in

    • I believe you're thinking of the Rayovac Renewal, which is now discontinued. It looks like there are still some rechargeable alkalines [cetsolar.com] on the market though.

    • What BS! Everyone seems to view products in such a narrow way these days. The question isn't "will they succeed or fail?" but "what is the niche for which this product has a use?". I've no doubt that thousands of people have already bought these batteries because they have a good use for them and they'll be using them happily for a couple of years. Pointing out that there are some people for whom these batteries are useless really is dumb. How the hell do you know what everyone else wants to do with batteri
  • Tired of searching for the charger for your rechargeable batteries?

    Even with this, VA employees will still be looking for the battery charger.
  • Um.... why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:57PM (#16149624)
    In most cases, if you have USB power you have an outlet. In rare cases where your out in the middle of no where with nothing but a notebook and a GPS unit running on AA batteries, and you need to keep the GPS charged so you can make it out there before dark, I guess these would be of use. Cant realy think of any other time.
    • by raehl (609729) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:52PM (#16150021) Homepage
      "Hey look, this battery dies twice as fast, but if it's dead, you can recharge it on USB!"
      "Uh, yeah, couldn't I just have used a regular battery that wouldn't be dead yet?"

      You can have:

      - an expensive, dead, 1300 mAh USB battery that you need to recharge on your laptop (good luck on your laptop battery not going dead first!)

      - a cheap, half-full 2500 mAh regular rechargable battery that you don't need to recharge at all.
      • by Kris_J (10111) *
        If you specifically craft a situation where the alternative won't run out and these batteries will, of course they're less than useful. However, if it's totally unavoidable that you're going to need to recharge batteries many times before getting back to your main base, half your arguement disappears.

        Frankly, these batteries look seriously handy if you're travelling and you know you're going to have regular access to devices with a USB port -- which doesn't have to be a PC or laptop, how about a PS2? I wo

  • OK, no more about batteries unless its something like new AA cell is rated at 1200may. (note thats years, not hours).
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      OK, no more about batteries unless its something like new AA cell is rated at 1200may. (note thats years, not hours).

      With your lack of capitalization for the units, I have to ask: do you mean milli-amp years or mega-amp years?
  • Useless junk. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:01PM (#16149663)
    Let's see - 5 hours to charge so you either leave a laptop on and run it's battery dead - wait - that little 3 prong hole in the wall - AC power - I can plug my laptop in there save its battery or I can plug in a real battery charger and fast charge my much cheaper, higher capacity AA/AAA's.

    A battery charger is small, small, lightweight and can be has with dual voltage. Mine is 6 years old and weighs a few ounces - including cord and EU adapter.

    If you really don't want to carry a charger you can buy a dozen high capacity rechargable AA's at the price of these - and simply carry them with you. (If you really would use that many you probably would carry a charger anyway).

    This is an expensive answer to a question no one is asking.

    Slashdot - we now spam the globe for you...

  • Most computer have the usbports stacked so they would only be able to charge one at a time.

    If you have access to the power brick you have access to an outlet so why not charge them from one.

    Charging from the laptop while on battery power would surely drain things probably quicker than the battery could fully charge up.

    You can buy around a dozen or more regular rechargables for the price of one of these so whats the point. This is definately one of those "because we can" products like usb mitten warmers and
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      If you have access to the power brick you have access to an outlet so why not charge them from one.

      Depends how many power bricks for each device an international traveller wants to carry (and whether or not they'll get confiscated at the airport).
  • A bit risky (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:05PM (#16149696) Homepage Journal
    Unless the electronics are really well engineered (aka foolproof design) then a failure could result in a damaged motherboard, especially considering the amount of current these things are capable of drawing. Surface mount fuses aren't much fun to replace, especially in laptops. I'd wait a while to see if any horror stories surface before plugging that thing into my machines.

    On a related note, the Motorola Razr cell phone's power connector is mini-USB, so it can charge off of your USB port as well.

    Dan East
  • The first rechargeable AA batteries were properly 1.5V each. Then 1.25V became the norm and my devices requiring six volts from regular batteries are only getting five.

    In the last couple years they've dropped rechargeables to 1.2V which means normal batteries are delivering 25% more power if the amps stay the same. I don't want 'em.

    • by Wordplay (54438) <geo@snarksoft.com> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:58PM (#16150060)
      I suspect this has more to do with labelling than actual capacity. Rechargeables have been putting out a 1.2v for years now. They are around 1.25V just after charge, and it's possible they were claimed as such by some manufacturer or the other. I've never seen a 1.5V NiCad or NiMH.

      Anyway, alkalines are only 1.5V out of the box. When they're "dead", they're at around 0.6V, and it's a fairly linear decline over time. In fact, electronics made to run on alkalines are generally fine down to around 0.9V or so, since the decline is expected.

      NiMHs and NiCads are ~1.2V after a charge, and stay there until just before they die, when they nosedive. This is why cameras recommend non-alkaline batteries--the flash actually requires that the voltage is somewhere around the maximum; alkaline batteries drop voltage so quickly that the flash only works a relatively small number of times.
    • The first rechargeable AA batteries were properly 1.5V each.

      Um.... when was this? As far as I remember, rechargeable NiCDs, when they first appeared on the market, were always 1.2/1.25. Sorry - but I call bullshit.

      Then 1.25V became the norm and my devices requiring six volts from regular batteries are only getting five. In the last couple years they've dropped rechargeables to 1.2V which means normal batteries are delivering 25% more power if the amps stay the same. I don't want 'em.

      All rechargeab

    • by backwardMechanic (959818) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @07:11PM (#16150131) Homepage
      It's all about the chemistry, not some kind of voltage deflation. Zinc cells give 1.5V (alklines, etc). NiCd and NiMH gives 1.2V. Lead acid gives 2 and a bit V. You can't make a NiCd battery at 3V. A battery is a stack of cells, so it can only provide an integer multiple of the cell voltage (2.4 or 3.6V is as close as you'll get with NiCd).
    • by LoudMusic (199347)
      In the last couple years they've dropped rechargeables to 1.2V which means normal batteries are delivering 25% more power if the amps stay the same. I don't want 'em.

      Where I agree that it's rediculous that the voltage is different (breaking the standard?), there are places that rechargable AA batteries work well. A/V remotes, wireless computer devices like mouse / keyboard, and some childrens' toys. It's when you stack up six or more batteries that there is a problem. I've been using Energizer rechargable A
  • Okay, unless I'm recharging these from my laptop battery (which is, I'd say, pretty dumb in most cases, but might have very limited utility somewhere), my charger is going to be close to my plugged-in computer, which is going to be close to a power strip with several outlets.

    Where I could just plug in a more conventional charger, instead of plugging it into my USB port of my computer. Its no harder to remember where that charger is than the one plugged into my USB port. Where is the benefit?
  • by AC-x (735297) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:26PM (#16149845)
    A USB batter charger [mrgadget.com.au]. This way you can use 2500mAh batteries rather then having half the capacity taken up by the usb port and charging circuit.
  • 1300 maH? (Score:5, Informative)

    by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:32PM (#16149892) Homepage
    I just replaced all of my regularly used rechargeable batteries with 2500maH sets and I will never go back to lower rated batteries again. On my vacation last week I shot over 400 photos and about 4 minutes of video on my Canon S1 IS and I only recharged the batteries once.

    You don't have to worry about charging on a USB port if your batteries don't die all of the time.
  • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:39PM (#16149931)
    There's more geek factor here than real usability. Anyone had their charger melted to slag because of leaky batteries? Yeah, me too. Personally, I wouldn't mind too much if a $10 charger got toasted, but not my $1xxx laptop. I can garentee that they won't be held responsible should anything get toasted with your lappy...besides, there has been enough troubles with the official laptop battery blowing up without throwing something like this into the mix...
  • Lots of people here seem to hate these batteries, but I think these would be just perfect for the Wireless Mighty Mouse. My Mac Pro arrives tomorrow, and I could easily imagine keeping one of these stuck into a front USB port.
  • by mr_zorg (259994) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @07:26PM (#16150225)
    Now, throw in a couple-o-dozen megs of flash built in and you might actually have something. I could store the device drivers for my peripherals in the very same batteries that run them. No more hunting for driver discs. Oh, that and increase the mAh capacity.
  • I really wonder why charging of ALL sorts of gadgets which run on one lithium-ion cell isn't automatically done when you anyway connect that thing to the PC to transfer data?
    The USB port has 5V and one lithium-ion cell has a maximum of 4.15 volts, (So there's enough voltage difference to properly charge the lithium cell).

    A few gadgets already does get charged when they anyway are connected to the PC, why not ALL of them?

    I would be happy to save the cost for the regular charger, and find it very practi
    • by Kris_J (10111) *

      I really wonder why charging of ALL sorts of gadgets which run on one lithium-ion cell isn't automatically done when you anyway connect that thing to the PC to transfer data?

      I have a 3rd-party USB cable for my Asus 716 Pocket PC that provides both power and a data connection, where the bundled cable only provides data and you need to pass it through an externally-powered cradle if you want to charge it. As such, I can give one reason:

      The USB port doesn't supply enough power to charge the battery and run


  • One stupid LED as a status? It's already USB! Why not also a little icon indicating charge status, how much power has left... Even maybe intelligent software to even tell how many seconds of gameplay I'll have my Sega GameGear! Ah.. USB. It reminds me when I saw the first USB speakers, I was amazed of how quicly computer technology has gone beyond prediction.. . Witnessing speakers crash! At least Windows 95 OSR2 somewhat tried to continue after a blue screen.

    Actually, it would be cool if mo
  • USB spec? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bassman59 (519820) <andy&latke,net> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @07:45PM (#16150339) Homepage

    Obviously, this thing doesn't meet any of the applicable specs, especially the specs that address power consumption when a device is not configured. I don't see a USB logo anywhere on their web site.

    Use at your own risk.

  • So how did they get around Dallas/Maxim [uspto.gov]?

    Unless they're inserting some kind of Ipod-esqe "cradle" as an electron-laundering scheme.
  • OK, these look nifty, but I've been using a USB-powered battery charger for two years as part of my Kensington Wireless Desktop. It charges two batteries at once, and the mouse and keyboard each require 2 batteries. It does its job well, and only requires a single USB port. And plus it acts as a nifty base station for my wireless keyboard and mouse! I use 2500mAh NiMH batteries, and they go for weeks of 9-hour-a-day usage before needing to be replaced.

    I have to give this a big "so, what?" It's like sel
  • by ralf1 (718128) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @09:56PM (#16150971)
    where an AC talks about a cool new product, I automatically assume said AC is a marketing rep from producer of product.
  • by dangitman (862676) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @04:00AM (#16151948)
    At the rate things are going, cities will be powered not with nuclear power stations, but by a gigantic laptop, with the grid plugged into the USB port. Better watch out the battery doesn't explode, though.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

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