Coolest phone charger ever

When your phone is fully charged a little light on the top of the charger goes off, and the charger throttles back its power drain from your wall. It can also connect with multiple phones via a USB plug.

Superior Communications in Irwindale, Calif.  is changing cell phone chargers in a very good way. The folks at AT&T are so happy to be doing business with Superior they put out a press release on it.

They're calling it the ZERO Charger (right).

Two things make it different. The point AT&T is emphasizing is that, when your phone is fully charged, that little light on the top of the charger goes off, and the charger throttles back its power drain from your wall.

You may not know this, but you're leaking tons of electricity right now from plugs that aren't being used. Just because a device is off doesn't mean it's not drawing power. The ZERO Charger takes care of that.

Here is a fun fact to know and tell. Power adapters now consume nearly 470 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, 12% of the U.S. total. About 120 billion kWh per year of that is wasted -- it's turned into heat -- costing over $12 billion according to the U.S. Department of Energy

What I most like about this new AT&T unit, however, is down near the bottom. It's a USB plug.

So you can use this charger for a variety of phones, just by changing wires. No more ginormous collections of dead chargers sitting around the house driving you crazy, and no running off to buy a new charger each time you get a new phone.

"It's able to be used with multiple devices," an AT&T spokesman told me. "It cuts down on duplicate chargers."

There is a third cool feature, which you can best see here, at AT&T's page devoted to the charger.

Notice how there are two slots in the bottom of the unit? When the charger isn't plugged into the wall, these hold the plugs, so all you have is a rounded block to carry around in your kit bag, rather than a plug, a block, and a wire to stick in the wall.

Oh, and our AT&T spokesman notes that this charger will cost no more than a regular charger -- just $29.99 at AT&T stores nationwide starting in May.

One more very important point. Let's allow that AT&T guy to step away before I tell you....

Superior sells kit for other carriers too.

They already have a line of USB wall chargers for T-Mobile. These don't have the light at the top the AT&T unit will have. They are not as green, and the corners are not as rounded. But the page gives you a good idea of how these units work with a wide variety of phones.

Phone chargers are about to finally make sense. Now if we can do the same thing with laptops...

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com