Alternatives to Batteries

Power outage? Here's an outlet-free way to revive your dead device.
This story appears in the 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Your cell phone/smartphone/BlackBerry has become an indispensable part of your workday. But how long can you talk between charges? A full day? No way. And entrepreneurs often find themselves out of the office for most of the day--or several days in a row.

A new approach to an age-old problem (well, as old as cell phones, anyway) is Turbo Chargefrom Voxred International. It's a low-cost way to gain virtually unlimited power for your cell--one AA alkaline at a time. Not much larger than a single AA itself, the $20 Turbo Charge comes with your first battery and an adapter for your phone. Additional adapters are $3 each, or pay $25 for a Turbo Charge with a whole set of adapters and a carrying pouch ($48 gets you two chargers and two sets of adapters).

Plug one end of the appropriate adapter into your phone, and the other end into Turbo Charge. A blue light indicates that it's charging and shuts off when charging is complete. A charge is good for 20 to 30 hours of standby, or you can plug in Turbo Charge whenever you hear the beep of death while on the phone. You should get an extra hour of talk time from a fresh alkaline, or three hours from a AA lithium (some BlackBerry devices need lithium), says Voxred CEO Norman Docteroff.

Turbo Charge never needs a wall jack or a car lighter, so your travel/talk range is limited only by the number of alkaline batteries you can buy. Of course, the farther your phone is from a cell tower or the larger its display, the more juice it uses. For really serious power users, Voxred is introducing a two-battery Ultra Turbo Charge that will provide three times the power for $30. A prosaic problem, maybe, but cell phones always go down when you need them most, right? Instead of remembering one more bulky AC adapter every time you leave home, why not salt away extra Turbo Charges in you briefcase, suitcase or glove compartment? Then you can just keep going and going...