“Are we there yet?” If these words strike fear in your heart then you probably have endured the torture of a family road trip without the benefit of personal technology. Most likely this has occurred because either you were born before 1985 or were riding in a car with children when a personal technology device lost its charge. Ran out of juice. Went dead. This undoubtedly blossomed into a huge problem if you weren’t able to charge the device in the car.
Erma Bombeck once said, “Never have more children than you have car windows.” That was back when the only form of entertainment during a car ride was looking out the window. My variation on that quote is “never have fewer charging possibilities than you have children.” This is true because if even one of your children has a device that runs out of a charge before you arrive at your intended destination, you are guaranteed to have a miserable trip.
The good news is that we have many different devices today to keep boredom at bay while traveling: iPods, iPads, Nintendo DSi’s, PSP’s, portable DVD players, netbooks, etc. All of these can magically entertain for hours, until they lose their charge. But the bad news is that all of these devices use different charge cords. It’s complicated enough that you have 57 varieties of charge cords in your house, do you have to have that many cords in your car too?
Not anymore. A company called Callpod sells a nifty device called a Chargepod that looks like an alien space ship (though for very small aliens) and can charge up to six devices from one outlet. Chargepod comes with a cord for the house and a cord for the car, adapters and a carrying pouch so you can easily take this along wherever you go. They have adapters for over 3,000 devices so they are bound to have an adapter compatible with whatever device you use.
You just plug in the adapter to the Chargepod on one end, your device on the other and then hook it up to your car (or home) outlet and you’re all set. This also comes in handy if you’re in a hotel room without enough accessible outlets for charging your devices. You can even get international adapters if your travels take you to other countries.
“What about plane rides?” you ask. “What do I do if my kid’s PSP dies during a plane ride?” Good question. Callpod also makes a device called Fueltank that acts as a second battery and charger for devices as well. Using the same adapters that the Chargepod uses, Fueltank can provide a charge for two devices at the same time. Just make sure you charge your Fueltank before getting on a plane.
Here’s the link if you want to learn more about these handy gadgets: Callpod. Chargepod bundles are from $49.95-$59.95. The Fuel Tank runs from $49.95-$69.95.
“Great,” you say. “But what about when I’m in a meeting knowing my cell phone battery is about to die and I’m expecting an important text? I don’t want it to be obvious that I forgot to charge my phone.” I get it, you want to be discreet about your electrical needs in certain delicate situations.
My best suggestion for you is to get a cell phone case that is also an external battery. The Mophie Juice Pack Air for the iPhone is the one I use. It’s only slightly larger than a regular case and comes in a variety of colors. Mophie
Case-mate is another company that makes rechargeable battery cases called Fuel for both the iPhone and Blackberry phones. I haven’t tried them but their online reviews are very positive. Case-mate
I have not been able to find any battery cases for Android phones, probably because new Android phones are introduced by a variety of companies nearly every week. If you know of a rechargeable battery case for an Android phone, please leave a comment below and spread the word.
Another handy charging option is the Innergie mCube Pro power adapter. This allows you to charge laptops and any other device you can charge with a USB cord, such as cameras, iPods, and all the other devices I mentioned above. You have a power cord and different tips so the mCube Pro will work with almost any laptop. What’s really great about this product is that it has attachments for both cars and airplanes. That’s right, airplanes. So if your airplane seat doesn’t have a regular outlet, you can still plug in the mCube Pro and charge your device. Imagine how convenient it would be to land after a long flight with your laptop, phone and kids’ devices fully charged.
I haven’t personally tested the mCube Pro, but the reviews I have read have been universally positive. You can find mCube Pro for $119.00 at Innergie.
Keeping your personal technology devices charged can save you from lots of aggravation. And isn’t that what tech is all about?
Important Update for Android Users
To follow up on the story I reported on Wednesday in iPad 2: Is It For You? about the malware Android apps, Google is sending a “kill switch” to Android phones. This kill switch is software that disables the malware apps, first thought to be 21, but now known to be 58 different apps with malicious code. Android users don’t have to do anything to enable the kill switch, Google will send it to phones and then enable it for users. Here is the report from Mashable with the entire story.
*Image courtesy of Innergie