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80,259 News Articles

Wind it up

Elbow grease powers radio and mobile phone

Energy company Freeplay yesterday launched its fifth-generation self-sufficient radio and mobile phone charger.

Aimed mainly at travellers, who are often out of reach of local electricity supplies, the Summit radio is the first self-charging multiband radio with digital tuning.

Measuring 90mmx171mmx80mm and weighing 700g, the silver-encased offers three power options, four wave bands and 30 preset radio stations, as well as digital tuning and a radio alarm clock.

Other features include a shortwave aerial and digital LCD (liquid crystal display) with backlight, plus the Summit radio is compatible with worldwide travel adapters if you get bored with winding it up.

"We have moved from the clockwork mechanism used in the first radio, to a compact and direct charge system that can be used in a wider variety of applications. It enables us to make smaller and lighter products and delivers increased playtime, high-quality performance and superb sound," said Rory Steer CEO and chairman of Freeplay.

The product also gained the support of former political prisoner Terry Waite.

"Being in a confined space cut-off from everything for four years I can really see the importance of these self-sufficient devices. They are an opportunity to connect people in remote areas with the rest of the world," said Waite.

The Summit radio will retail for £84.99 with other accessories including a travel pouch available to buy separately.

In partnership with Motorola, Freeplay has also launched the Motorola Freecharge, a portable energy pack for mobile phones (pictured). Surprisingly for a product purporting to be for 'the person on the go', it is a rather cumbersome 230g.

The pack has an internal rechargeable battery which can be powered up using the phone's own adapter. It has the capacity to store up to one-and-a-half times the energy of the phone's battery, providing backup when you can't get to an electric socket.

But if you're not near a power source, the unique wind-up option ensures users have a fail-safe power option at all times. By winding for around 45 seconds, the pack generates four to five minutes talk time and several hours standby.

Although the pack is only compatible with the Motorola's V60 and V66 handsets and with Nokia's T250, the company's long-term plan is to introduce a universal pack.

The charger will retail at £59.99.

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