Office tool: A flash drive with integrated, fast USB charger

Why tie up two USB ports with a flash drive and a phone charger? The Bricwave Xpress does both and can recharge some phones in half the time using a single port.

Running out of USB ports on that office laptop? A new device called the Bricwave Xpress can pull double duty by acting as both a flash storage device and a high-output charger for your phone.

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The small rectangular device has a covered USB port one one end to connect to your computer. On the other end is a 6-inch flexible cable with your choice of either microUSB or Lightning connector that folds up neatly and out of sight. And inside is flash memory with either 8, 16, 32 or 64GB of storage.

You can charge your phone or access that flash storage with the Bricwave Xpress or, if you can forgo the data access, it can provide one full amp of current to your mobile device. Assuming your phone or tablet can handle that current, it can recharge up to twice as fast as a standard 0.5 amp charger.

There's a sliding switch to move between modes. Flip it to the left and your phone will charge from and sync with your computer. Move it to the middle and you can access data stored on the Bricwave Xpress. Slide it over to the right and you'll be in fast charge mode but without access to the flash memory. Aside from the covered ports, there's also a metal ring on the Bricwave Xpress so you can attach it to a key chain.

The convenience of a multi-purpose device doesn't come cheaply, though. Bricwave Xpress is currently a Kickstarter project that's roughly half-funded and has a minimum pledge of $49 for an 8GB model. The company behind the project says that's a healthy savings over the expected $89 retail price. The more flash memory you want, the more you'll pay, of course, with the 64GB edition going for $95 to early backers.

Expected delivery for the Bricwave Xpress is slated to be this coming July, so assuming the project meets its $20,000 funding goal by May 31, you shouldn't have to wait long for the product.

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