09 Nov Power for the people
We pull the plugs, cut the cords, and can the cables as we move deeper into our highly mobile, always-connected, convenience-centered lives. But for all the freedom and mobility, we are nowhere without energy to power the laptops, mobile phones, PDAs, BlackBerries and the like. That fact alone has turned the average business traveler into a Socket Scout, finding power outlets in the most obscure corner of airports and coffee houses. Indeed, I’m usually the last person to board a flight, waiting until the very last moment to unplug in hopes that I’ll have enough power to make it cross-country on my one laptop battery.
So I was glad to take a meeting this summer with Xantrex Technology, a Vancouver, B.C., company that is tackling the mobile power problem. I’m thrilled that the product we talked about then has made it to market.
The XPower Pocket Powerpack 100 combines a battery and an inverter to power or recharge any technology device through either AC or DC power over a USB power outlet. The device packs enough energy to run an additional 2.5 hours, recharge a cell phone a half-dozen times or more, recharge an iPod 20 times, and a BlackBerry 30 times.
At 2.4 pounds, that extra power isn’t exactly “pocket” sized, but because it is essentially a universal power pack, you can eliminate the bulk of power cords required for each device individually. The kit wraps up neatly in a zippered pouch and includes adapters for car and airplane power outlets.
The company sells the product for $119.95 at Radio Shack outlets – which will appeal to the techies, and at outlets such as West Marine, Sapp Bros Truck Stops, and Wilco Travel Centers – which suggests the sweet spot of this market are people who spend most of their time on the road and off the grid. It’s also available online here.
I like to travel light, so I was a little disappointed when I first heaved the two-plus pound brick. But I’m addicted enough to my laptop, mobile phone, and other mobile devices that it can power that I suck up the extra weight on long-haul trips to be sure I have the battery I need to make those journeys more productive.
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