London-based company Moixa Energy has today announced rechargeable AA-size batteries that can be slotted directly into a USB port. The USBCell looks much like a standard AA battery until you lift the cap on the top to reveal a USB connector.
No charger, cable or any other go-between device is required. The cap is connected to the body of the battery using durable elastic. There is a light on the USBCell to tell you when it is charging that switches off when it is fully charged.
Fully charging the USBCell takes about five hours and are based on NiMH (nickel metal hydride) technology, meaning that they can also be recharged in NiMH chargers if the user wishes.
The USBCell is available from this website and cost £13 including VAT per pair. A deal to stock the product in an as yet unnamed UK-based IT reseller's chain of stores has just been struck and the USBCells shoud be on the shelves by mid-October.
Company co-founders Simon Daniel and Chris Wright expect to be shipping other sizes of batteries, including AAA, in the new year. Though these presented unique problems during design and manufacture - the diameter of a AAA battery is less than the width of a USB connector - this will be resolved by making the connector fold in on itself.
Batteries for mobile phones and digital cameras will soon be available from the company too.