A common reality with many of today’s personal electronics is the requirement ot use wall-warts to charge up or power these devices from AC power. Recently there has been a push by the industry to make the USB device-power standard the required standard for supplying power to mobile phones and similar devices. This is underscored with standards-compliant mobile phones being required to be equipped with micro-USB input sockets as the only power-input sockets on these devices.
Similarly, the agenda is to have the battery charger not being supplied as a standard accessory with the phone. This is to encourage us to use the charger that came with our previous phones as the current phone’s charger.
A new company has taken this further by supplying to the Australian and New Zealand market a double power outlet that also has an integrated USB charger for two devices. This outlet, supplied by sockITz, is intended to be installed as a new or replacement power outlet, allows us to charge or power two phones or similar devices while powering two AC-operated devices.
The outlet, which is finished either in classic white or with an aluminium front and either black or white switches and socket surrounds, also satisfies the zero leakage test with shutters that come over the USB sockets and shut off power to the charger circuitry when a device is unplugged from the USB sockets.
Of course, an ordinary old “sparkie” would have to install these outlets and they are best used in the office, kitchen or beside the bed, They would also go well with public spaces like cafes so that people can “top up” their gadgets on the go without carrying a wall-wart battery charger with them.
Personally, I would like to see this concept taken further with desk lamps and electric fans that have a self-powered USB hub in their bases so these devices can work as mobile-phone chargers or USB peripheral hubs. These kind of standards don’t just satisfy environmental friendliness but open up paths for real innovation and thinking “out of the box”.