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Sony introduces hand-cranked USB charger, makes you work for your talk-time

May 23, 2012

Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed amazing advances in mobile technology, with bigger displays with very high resolutions, faster dual-core and quad-core processors, and speedy 4G connectivity giving us the ability to always be online. Unfortunately, battery technology has not boasted a similar growth. In a world where ultra-slim is considered a major requirement, the bulky batteries that would be required to power such devices take away from the form factor.

On the other hand, the current batteries used in smartphones are just not enough. With heavy usage, most devices nowadays barely last half a day. This is a situation made worse by the use of 4G LTE radios in handheld devices, which are notorious for draining the battery. A lot of people have taken to carrying secondary backup batteries for when the phone battery drains completely. But this is not an option for some phones, such as the HTC One X, that feature a unibody design with a non-removable battery.

At some point, we’ve all been stuck with a dying or dead battery during an untimely power failure, car trouble, or even if you were just lost and wanted to call someone for directions, or look it up on Google Maps.

It looks like Sony has come up with an answer to these woes, with the CP-A2LAKS  CycleEnergy USB charger. This hand-cranked charger boasts the following features:

  • Features a 4,000mAH battery that when fully charged, is enough to fully recharge most smartphones twice.
  • The charger houses 2 USB ports, allowing the possibility of charging multiple devices.
  • The device can fully recharge a smartphone battery in about 130 minutes. (Sony Xperia Acron HD used as the test phone).
  • Functions as a standard AC outlet charger.
  • Features a hand-crank which allows you to charge the 4,000 mAH battery on the go, when if you’ve forgotten to charge the unit beforehand.
  • Just to clear things up, the 4,000 mAH battery is a part of the USB charger, and is the one that is used to charge your handheld devices.
  • Three minutes of turning the handle will give you about one minute of talktime.
  • Five minutes of rotating the handle will give you about one minute of internet browsing.
  • Sony also promises support for all kinds of devices, including those that require some form of authentication when using a USB charger.
  • Lightweight and compact design makes it very easy to carry around
AC charging unit, hand-cranked generator input section, USB output section

Granted, this hand-crank charger isn’t the ideal solution to all our battery-life issues, and is primarily for emergency situations. Ten minutes of turning the hand-crank should give you enough time to make one emergency call or find the nearest location that could have a outlet for you to charge your phone faster. Basically, the more patience and energy you have, the more life you can give to your dead battery.

The Sony CP-A2LAKS CycleEnergy USB charger migth be very useful in helping one get out of a bind. Of course, you’ll have to remember to carry the portable charger around with you as well. The gizmo will go on sale in Japan on June 20, for 8,000 yen (~$100). No word yet if the device will be available outside of Japan, or when will that happen.

What are your thoughts? Is the hand-cranked charger going to be as useful as it sounds? Is it worth the $100 price tag? Would you use a hand-cranked charger? Let us know in the comments section below