Thought AT&T's Zero charger was going to cruise along with no competition? No sirree. Ventev has shown up here in Las Vegas to launch its (seemingly superior) competitor, the EcoCharge. Designed to (nearly) eliminate vampire power draw when no device is connected, this here charger one-ups those "other guys" by having room to invigorate a pair of mini-USB / micro-USB devices (one of those, plus a full-size USB at the top), and best of all, it won't take up 1.5, 2 or 2.5 slots on your power strip. The company claims that its approach to cutting down on vampire power drain -- the energy that's wasted when you leave a charger plugged in with no peripheral connected -- is better than other solutions out there, as a unit that completely kills the power when it's left alone requires an on / off switch or a "wake up" period before it storms into action. The EcoCharge continually pulls 0.025 watts, while Energy Star chargers can go up to 0.3 watts when not in use. Oh, and did we mention that it's shipping right now? Indeed it is -- in micro-USB or mini-USB flavors for $29.99 a pop.

We stopped by the company's booth tonight at CTIA's MobileFocus event, and we learned that an Apple-centric version is just weeks away from shipping. As you'd expect, the bottom plug will be a dock connector, though the USB port behind the flip panel will remain all the same. We're told that the company will be doing its best to get the charger into Apple's sales channels, but you'll be forced by pay $5 more for that version over the other guys. Guess that 10 percent Made for iPhone tax hasta be paid by someone, right?

Ventev EcoCharge hands-on at CTIA 2010

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Ventev EcoCharge whacks vampire draw, charges two devices for the price of one