Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

JuiceTank Aims to Juice Up Your Phone, Without a Cord

Smartphone ownership and the app economy might both be booming, but that doesn’t mean phone batteries are always up to the task. And the problem was underscored at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin last week, when some conference attendees complained that the new batch of social apps were draining the juice from their phones.

A new project being funded through Kickstarter is aimed at providing a short-term wireless solution to the power-drainage problem, with an iPhone case that’s got the plugs plugged in.

The nifty rubberized JuiceTank case, created by New York-based entrepreneurs Jesse Pliner and Lloyd Gladstone, comes with a wall charger built into the back of the case. The prongs fold flat to the side, making it easy to slide into a pocket. And with prototypes of the device weighing 3 ounces or less, it’s lightweight, too.

Since putting the JuiceTank up last week on Kickstarter, the popular online platform where people can pledge money to support projects in the works, nearly 529 people together have pledged nearly $26,000. The company has set a goal of $125,000, which it has to reach within the next 54 days in order for the backers to bring their product to market.

If it makes it to market, the expected retail price of the JuiceTank will be $55. Other battery-boosting iPhone cases, like the ones made by Mophie, can range in price from $20 to around $100.

Right now, the case is just for iPhones, and has only been designed in black, but the company plans to produce other colors (white, they say, has been a top request).

The “Juicers” acknowledge that it’s tough to fit an iPhone into some spaces around electrical outlets, so they’ve also built in a USB microport, in the event that users have a cord with them and can plug in that way. Pliner and Gladstone are also working on designing the next iteration of JuiceTank: A case that, like a Mophie pack, combines the plug with a rechargeable energy supply.

If the project is funded, the company anticipates that the first JuiceTank case will ship in July. They say they hope to have the combo case available by fall 2012.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik