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USBCELL: The battery that charges via USB

Keep these rechargeable batteries in your laptop bag for when you need a charge in a pinch
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

These days just about everything I use comes with a cord for recharging it. That said, the one area that I haven't gone completely rechargeable with is devices that use AA batteries. Enter the USBCELL.

The USBCELL is a unique product that's actually a rechargeable battery that charges uses its built-in USB dongle. From the outside the USBCELL looks just like a normal battery, but the cover comes off and then exposes the USB dongle. To charge it up you plug the dongle into an available USB port. Then you watch as the lights show that the battery is charging. The battery itself is NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) and can charge almost fully in 5 hours, and up to 50 percent in just 1 hour.

Right now the USBCELL only comes in AA but AAA, 9V, and even phone and device batteries are on the way soon.

The only downside to the USBCELL seems to be its price. Currently it's retailing for $17.99 for two AA batteries. The price makes it less than a must-have for everyday use, but if you carry gadgets around, these batteries are great in a pinch.

I've been tracking the USBCELL since its inception and have to say that I'm surprised that Duracell, Energizer, or any of the other big battery companies haven't tried to license or buy the technology at this point. These days everyone wants to hop on the eco-friendly train, and with the USBCELL being able to be reused hundreds of times, it's definitely reducing the amount of battery waste out there.

One more thing: the USBCELL is a great conversation starter. I tend to throw it out in the middle of a table in a meeting and wait for people to try to figure out what it is. Even after it's been out for so long, there are still plenty of techies that have never seen one.

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