There seem to be so many goofy USB
-enabled products these days
that we barely even notice when a genuinely useful one nearly slaps us in the face, and such was the case with the new USBCELL, a AA battery whose positive terminal flips off to reveal a USB plug all ready to feed it some juice. As long as you bring your laptop everywhere, this solves the problem with most other rechargeable batteries: the fact that you need to carry around a separate charger with you wherever you go (unless you happen to travel with Thanko's NB-mate
speaker / hub / power source), and if you forget to bring it, you're forced to shell out for more disposables -- negating the main reason you bought rechargeables in the first place. Although the AA NiMH models will be first to hit the market (about $24 for a two-pack), other batteries with built-in USB plugs are scheduled to be released in the near future, including 9V, AAA (with either a mini- or folding full-size USB attachment), C and D converter shells for the AAs, and even packs for cellphones, digital cameras, and other portable devices. The only downside we can see here is that certain people (including ourselves) already have eight devices fighting for seven available USB ports, so unless you're willing to spring for yet another hub, charging these at home could turn into somewhat of a hassle.