Better Re turns old smartphone batteries into a new smartphone charger

Due to the fast replacement cycle on smartphones, there are a growing number of perfectly good batteries either collecting dust in drawers all over the world or, even worse, being thrown in the trash.

patent-claimedBetter Re is a smartphone charger that provides a green solution to that problem because it operates using any old smartphone batteries. Users can boost the device’s charging capacity as needed –- when charging a large-capacity device like a tablet, for example — by adding expansion packs that are joined together via built-in, tiny magnets. An LED indicator shows if a battery is usable or not.

The charger uses materials -– 100 percent recyclable aluminum and walnut and maple hardwood — that its maker says will cause minimal harm to the environment. Better Re costs about $75 and ships in November. Its maker set a Kickstarter goal of raising $50,000 by June 9.

Better Re doesn’t seem to be able to adapt to newer and higher-capacity removable batteries  in phones such as the LG G4. It will likely appeal mostly to green-conscious consumers. Many others may write it off and opt instead for one of the many cheaper chargers on the market.

Chargers/Batteries Home

SnapPower gives USB an outlet with no rewiring

The best place to charge a phone at home seems to be “anywhere” but in many households stuffed with electronics and appliances, it’s difficult to sacrifice a whole outlet for the fraction of power needed to charge a phone.

SnapPower addresses this issue with an outlet coverplate that includes a small “chin” to accommodate a USB port. While there have been other ways to add add such a smartphone charging convenience, they have included undesirable tradeoffs between aesthetics and installation. Some products that are basically chunky rectangular power strips simply plug into the existing outlets, adding a lot of bulk to the outlet Stealthier products require playing around with wires.

SnapPower, on the other hand, draws power from the screws used to connect the device. Simply remove the old coverplate, add the new one, and you’re done. The company, which previously created an LED-based nightlight using a similar technique, seeks $35,000 from Kickstarter backers by May 15. Bundles of SnapPower coverplates — which are available in traditional and decor varieties — start at about $15 per unit and go down from there as the bundles grow. They’re expected to ship in August.

SnapPower offers an affordable and easily installed charging convenience. it would be nice if it could support two phones by adding a USB port to either end, but one can just purchase a few more for other outlets around the home.