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    azstar's Avatar
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    Smartphone Add-ons Of The Week 08/12/09 The Power Hungry Edition

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    ...for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm, Symbian & WM.

    I consider myself to be a fairly heavy smartphone user. With all of the emailing, instant messaging, browsing, talking, and twittering I was finding my battery never lasting through the day. On days I listened to streaming radio via apps like Nobex RC, Pandora, or Slacker I was lucky to have my battery last until lunch. I almost always seem to have a charger available...usb cord, wall charger, car charger...but on those days when none of those were convenient I had to find another solution. I know many of you are familiar with the other options out there but thought I would list some of them this week. The number of new smartphone users continues to rise and as the new devices get released they have more capabilities and it seems like one of the biggest complaints is the battery dies way too fast. So here are just a few of the choices you have; from extended batteries to charging on the go there are many options out there so see which one you think will work best for you. I have found options for pretty much every type of smartphone out there and many will work across several platforms.

    Android Smartphones
    One of the most popular sources for extended batteries and cases is Seidio. I have been a Seidio fan for quite a while and use their extended battery for my 8330 and their snap-on cases. I find their products to be good quality and the extended battery really lasts as advertised. But they don't just make batteries for BlackBerry but several smartphone platforms including Android. They have batteries available for both the G1 and the MyTouch. For the MyTouch they have an oem sized 1500 mAh extended battery which is available for pre-order and will ship out starting the 21st of this month. For the G1 they have oem sized 1400 mAh and a thicker 2400 mAh. The larger batteries come with a replacement battery door in white, grey, or black to match your device and accommodate the thicker battery. The replacement doors also have a great soft rubbery surface that really improve grip but don't pick up lint like a silicone skin does. If you don't want to deal with making sure a charger is nearby then an extended battery might be the right choice for you.

    BlackBerrySmartphones
    Another popular accessory maker is Case-Mate. They manufacture cases for a variety of devices from laptops to smartphones and earlier this year came out with an interesting solution for BlackBerry Bold and iPhone users, the Fuel. It is a case, holster, charging combo that adds an additional 2300 mAh of power. From their description "
    It's a protective case, carrying solution, and extended battery life all in one. So from here on out you’re good to charge on the go. So the next time you’re rushing to get to the airport at 6am and you forget your charger...relax, your BlackBerry Bold is taken care of. Talk time: up to 7 additional hours beyond standard BlackBerry Bold battery life, Stand by time: up to 20 additional days beyond standard BlackBerry Bold battery life, Power on/off button makes more efficient usage of the fuel by only engaging when you decide to, Fully ratcheting 180-degree belt clip, and Easy slide in/out access to your BlackBerry Bold" Check out their site for more info and a brief video about the Fuel. Hopefully they will extend this line of cases to other models beyond the Bold because it seems like a great concept.

    Apple Smartphones
    One thing that steers me away from the iPhone is the fact that you can't swap out the battery when you are running low on juice, but there are several solutions out there for extending your power. One of them is the recently released Kensington charging dock with with mini battery pack for the iPhone and iPod. You can charge your iPhone and the mini battery at the same time and that spare battery can come to the rescue when you start running low on juice. It boasts it will provide and extra 30 hrs of music, 6 hrs of video, and 3 hrs of talk time which can definitely come in handy, especially when traveling. I would imagine that using it while plugged into the mini battery may be awkward but not as awkward as hunting for an outlet to charge with or borrowing a phone when yours has just died. I am seriously considering this for my iPod Touch. It would be a great solution for a power boost on a long flight.


    Palm Pre Smartphone

    preThinking recently did a great review of an extended battery solution for the Palm Pre. Amzer has come out with extended batteries for the Pre in 3 sizes: 1400 mAh, 2800 mAh, and a whopping 3800 mAh. The 1400 gives just a bit more power than the OEM 1150 mAh and does not require a special battery door but the 2800 and 3800 come with a door that will adapt to the added bulk of all that power. Their replacement battery doors seem to match the look of the Pre pretty well but do not work with the TouchStone charger. These larger batteries will easily more than double or triple your up-time with your Pre but I would think hard before buying that 3800 as it adds some serious bulk to the otherwise small, palm hugging Pre. Be sure to check out their review which has quite a few comparison images to give you an idea of the changes these batteries will make. All that power costs more than just added bulk, these batteries are pricey, $129 for the 3800 mAh but for the convenience it may be worth it to some.

    Nokia Smartphones
    One very green option for recharging is a solar charger. This eliminates extra batteries and the need to plug in to get charged up. There are quite a few manufacturers and form factors for solar chargers, this is just one of the available options. You can pick this one up at amazon.com for only $20. It comes with adapters for Nokia, iPhone, BlackBerry and more. Charging it takes 8-10 hours of direct sunlight to give you 2,000 mAh of power but if you are nowhere near electricity or spending a day at a park or the beach then you can easily power it up enough to give you the extra boost you may need. There's also this one from Lenmar that boasts a faster charging time and several others if you search around. This is probably not the most convenient way to get your power fix, but there are occasions where this could be your best choice.

    Windows Mobile Smartphones
    Maybe your phone holds up fine most days and you rarely travel then you may only need the extra boost once in a while. If you are looking for a solution that is convenient, inexpensive and compact then the Duracell My Pocket Charger may be the right choice for you. You can pick it up for around $20 and it runs off just a couple AAA batteries. It comes with adapters for Motorola and BlackBerry phones or this one which comes with mini and micro USB plus iPhone connectors. This can be a perfect option for traveling because of it's small size and the ease of getting replacement batteries. For a heavy user though, the cost of replacing the AAA batteries may not make this a cost effective solution.

    One more for the road....or for the desk
    If you are like me and have an ever changing array of electronic gadgets then you may want to check out WildCharge. It is a charging pad you can use at home or in the office that allows for wire-free charging for many devices. This is done either via a special case or skin or with their newly released PowerDiscs. From their press release:

    "WildCharge Inc., the leader in wire-free power technology, announces today the new WildCharge PowerDisc™, its most cost-effective and versatile solution yet for wire-free charging of hundreds of different portable electronic devices. The PowerDisc works with the WildCharger™ pad and other WildCharge-enabled surfaces, allowing for the charging of multiple categories of devices including cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, e-book readers, GPS units, and more. The PowerDisc is also the first WildCharge accessory to work with LG and Samsung cell phones, furthering WildCharge’s compatibility across most major brands.

    The PowerDisc comes with seven interchangeable PowerLinks™ to provide charging compatibility with not only the aforementioned LG and Samsung phones, but also with devices from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, RIM, Palm and more. The PowerDisc requires no installation and is incredibly easy to use. Users simply select the correct PowerLink, plug the appropriate end into the disc, and the other end into their device. When the disc is placed on a WildCharger Pad, or other WildCharge-enabled surface, the device will receive a full charge. Because of the PowerDisc’s small size, several can be placed on a WildCharger pad at once, enabling the charging of several devices from one pad or charging surface, without having to occupy multiple power outlets with individual AC Adapters."

    This seems like a great way to charge up all your little gadgets without a tangle of plugs and cords covering up your desk and is definitely worth a serious look.

    So like I said, there are many options out there and these are just a few. If you use any of these, let us know how they work for you and if you use something different than the ones mentioned post up some links and pros/cons.
    Last edited by azstar; 08-13-2009 at 02:42 AM.
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    9of13's Avatar
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    that Fuel case is off the hook!!!! I could use one for the Flip if they ever make one. carrying extra batteries does get annoying
    Nice job AZ!!
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    azstar's Avatar
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    That Fuel case is very cool, I have the seidio 2600mAh extended battery for my curve, love the power, but it's not very attractive.
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    Man i wish they made the fuel case for the 8900.

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    Another great Add-on. It always gives me more ideas.

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    Can the fuel case be carried with out the clip on for your belt? I couldn't tell. I never put my Bold on my belt or waist or clip it on my pocket. If it has the attatchment on the back sticking out, it would get in my way. That would be the only drawback for me, if the clip for the belt is optional, then it would be great.
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    Great find always nice to have extra power when you need it.

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    azstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayhites717 View Post
    Can the fuel case be carried with out the clip on for your belt? I couldn't tell. I never put my Bold on my belt or waist or clip it on my pocket. If it has the attatchment on the back sticking out, it would get in my way. That would be the only drawback for me, if the clip for the belt is optional, then it would be great.
    BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102
    I watched the video again, and it doesn't look like the clip is removable....but you could probably contact their customer support to find out for sure.
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    Nice roundup Az. I would love to see that Fuel Case on my 8900 too. That is an awesome addon for any BB though.
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    I'll be traveling to 20 hours on Friday and my only solution is still using a second battery. The Fuel - Rechargeable Battery Pack for 8900 would have been nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffpettis View Post
    Man i wish they made the fuel case for the 8900.
    I definitely agree with this. My battery will not get me through the day on my days off from work. I'm always streaming via Nobex or Flycast, listening to tunes via Bluetooth while working out. So I definitely need an option. I just really don't want anything to make my device too much bigger because I love the sleekness of the 8900.
    BlackBerry8900/4.6.1.250 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/107

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    Nice info today, Az. I agree with the rest, the Fuel looks like a great idea and I hope that idea spreads for other BB's AND other devices. I don't like having to change batteries because I have to pop my Seidio case in half and that's a nusance. (lazy me.)

    I also hope someday all the manufacturers can agree on a "system" so all the answers to keeping our many devices going won't involve so many connector, cables, etc. I especially like having the solar charger. I keep it in my car for the road because both of the charging outlets are usually busy - one for the (not built-in) GPS and one for my wife's phone. I need something because I'm usually tracking myself using the GPSed software while we go along.

    Thanks again for a great thread!
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    I sent an email to case-mate asking if they plan to develop the Fuel case for other models, hopefully the answer is yes!
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    Quote Originally Posted by azstar View Post
    I sent an email to case-mate asking if they plan to develop the Fuel case for other models, hopefully the answer is yes!
    Good for you! Post back and let us know what they say. If they do have plans, it's probably "forward" to the new devices - that would make the most sense but it'd be nice if they'd do it for the 83xx series since it's been so popular. I'll bet they don't though - too many new ones coming and rumored.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jblackfish View Post
    Nice info today, Az. I agree with the rest, the Fuel looks like a great idea and I hope that idea spreads for other BB's AND other devices. I don't like having to change batteries because I have to pop my Seidio case in half and that's a nusance. (lazy me.)

    I also hope someday all the manufacturers can agree on a "system" so all the answers to keeping our many devices going won't involve so many connector, cables, etc. I especially like having the solar charger. I keep it in my car for the road because both of the charging outlets are usually busy - one for the (not built-in) GPS and one for my wife's phone. I need something because I'm usually tracking myself using the GPSed software while we go along.

    Thanks again for a great thread!
    Didn't the major smartphone manufacturers agree on micro-USB? That's a big step in the right direction. I know with my 8120, it's car and worked on the little Motorola my work has me carry, and the car charger and home charger from that phone worked on my BB, but for some reason the 8120's home charger would not work on the Motorola. Never figured out why, but I agree that a universal charger would be awesome.
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