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CES 2007: Turn On The Power

Power is the dirty secret of portable electronics. You unwrap your new mobile gadget, and it's sleek and sexy as Seven of Nine -- but it comes with a power-supply brick as ugly and lumpy as Neelix. And the battery supply has a lifespan as short as a tribble. Some vendors at 2007 International CES are looking to change that.

Power is the dirty secret of portable electronics. You unwrap your new mobile gadget, and it's sleek and sexy as Seven of Nine -- but it comes with a power-supply brick as ugly and lumpy as Neelix. And the battery supply has a lifespan as short as a tribble. Some vendors at 2007 International CES are looking to change that.

Fulton Innovation will debut eCoupled, a wireless power system that uses a shared magnetic field to transfer power between devices. (Via Gizmodo.)

Visteon plans to introduce a device for charging portable devices in the car.. Details are sketchy, but it looks like it fits in a cup holder, and plugs into the car's cigarette lighter, and then you plug your devices into the charger. It appears to be designed to eliminate the need to carry around multiple car-charging cords and adapters, and make your gadgets fight for limited cigarette-lighter space. It also appears to be a ghastly shade of green -- not the kind of thing you'll want to have in your car if you care how it looks. (Not a problem for me -- I don't think it's safe to drive a car that doesn't contain a protective mulch of fast-food wrappers, empty Starbucks cups, and discarded magazines and computer printouts.) (Via Gizmodo.)

And the Ecosol Powerstick is an intriguing little gadget:


You plug the Powerstick into a USB port to charge it up. It takes 90 minutes to top off. No word on how long it will hold that charge once you dump it into your backpack or pocket, but it's got enough juice to fully charge a Blackberry. The handy LCD readout on the side tells you just how much "gas" the Powerstick is holding. When one of your portable devices runs out of energy, you connect it to the Powerstick-it has a universal adapter on one end, and will come with a variety of connectors for phones and MP3 players. Once you've docked it with your device, you press the start button and your gadget starts drawing power just as if you'd plugged it into a wall socket. This certainly has advantages over the AA cellphone Turbo Charger I'm seeing sold at every drug store nowadays.

Version 2 will be able to charge from solar power. Neat!