May 10, 2012, 4:00 PM — A portable USB fuel cell promises to charge your smartphone for up to two weeks without going near a wall socket. Lilliputian Systems says its portable fuel cell will provide juice for your smartphone a dozen times before running out -- and then you just need to buy a replacement cartridge.
Most smartphones today can barely make it through a day without needing a recharge; large screens and 4G connectivity play a big role in this. So while this solution won’t eliminate the need the charge your phone constantly, you will have the freedom to do so without being near a wall socket.
Lilliputian's portable fuel cell is around the size of a thick smartphone, while the replaceable cartridges inside are the size of a cigarette lighter. The fuel cell can power any gadget over its USB port, be it a smartphone, tablet or camera. Lilliputian said an iPhone could be charged up to 14 times from a single fuel cell.
Brookstone will be the first retailer to sell the portable USB fuel cell in the U.S., and the solution will be sold under its brand at locations in shopping malls and airports. Lilliputian said the U.S. Department of Transportation will also allow passengers to carry the device and replacement cartridges in their cabin luggage, so you won’t run out of battery on lengthy flights.
There’s no word on pricing or availability yet, besides an expected launch date by the end of this year. If an older interview with Lilliputian’s Mouli Ramani is any indication, then expect the portable USB charger to cost between $150 and $200, while a fuel cell cartridge would cost between $2 and $5.