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Moxio USBCELL: USB Rechargeable Batteries

Our portable devices require portable power, especially if you're using them regularly or on an extended trip. You can use standard batteries, but the cost adds up, and they need to be disposed of properly. Rechargeable batteries make a lot of sense since you can reuse them, but they don't hold as much power as a standard battery, and then you'll need to carry along a charger when you travel so you can tank them up again.

The obvious solution is a battery with the charger built in -- not to plug into the wall, but instead the USBCELL from Moxio Energy, with a built-in USB interface to recharge from any powered USB port.

The first product from Moxio is an AA battery, released in September 2006, at a price around $19.50 for a two-pack.

The USBCELL is particularly useful to power accessories for your notebook computer, like a wireless mouse. No need for large packs of batteries, and no need to carry a separate charger.

See more in the Portable Power Accessories Gallery

The USBCELL AA battery comes with a distinctive green lid that pops off to reveal a standard USB connector -- The lid is attached with a tiny elastic thread so it does not escape. Just plug it in to any powered USB port and top it off. Then put the lid back on and use it like any normal battery.

The USBCELL also has two green LED lights in a ring just below the lid. These come on to indicate the battery is charging, start flashing as it passes 90% charged, and then turn off when charging is complete. Moxio recommends a full charge time of 5 hours via USB, or the batteries also can be charged in an approved 250 mA Ni-MH charger, for 7 hours.

The USBCELL compares to NiMH rechargeable batteries at under $10, standard batteries at $9 down to $2 for various performance levels. And it's rated at 1300 mAh, compared to NiMH batteries ranging around 1800 to 2500 mAh.

Moxio has just announced plans to launch a designer range of colored USBCELL batteries for "the increasingly fashion conscious battery consumer," including pastel designs to match fashionable accessories and outfits.

Future product plans also include AAA batteries with mini-USB connector, 9V battery cells with fold-out connectors, and versions for major phones and portable devices.

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