Kickstarter continues to drain my monthly mobile gadget budget, this time for a product called POP, which is short for “portable power.” The nicely designed device looks like a short, squatty trash can in shape and contains a 25,000 mAh battery, which is good enough to charge most smartphones at least a dozen times. Hiding underneath, however, is the secret sauce, because with POP you can charge multiple devices at one time.
Between the stubby legs of the POP are four retractable USB cables. Each can change a single device and all four can be used simultaneously for powering various smartphones and tablets. I always carry a retractable USB cable similar to those found on POP, as they’re so useful for charging and syncing devices. In addition to the limited space such cables take, those on the POP have dual ends: The 30-pin dock connector for iOS devices hides a micro USB port for non-Apple devices.
In theory then, I could use the POP to charge my iPhone, Nexus 7 tablet and Galaxy Nexus smartphone while still leaving an open cord for a family member to charge their phone too. I wouldn’t likely carry the POP everywhere; it’s a bit bulky for that and I have smaller, more portable chargers to take with me. But as I found out earlier this month on a family vacation, a mobile charging solution that can top off multiple devices would be very useful.
The team behind the POP expects to ship the devices by December of this year if its $50,000 funding goal is met by Sept. 1. As of this writing, the project has 76 backers with $10,336 in pledged funding. As an early bird, I took advantage of the discounted $129 price available to the first 50 backers; POP will retail for $199 but there are still some $149 funding deals at this time. And even a $1 pledge gives you the option to purchase POP at $149 in the future.
Thanks to the retractable cords, I could even see myself use the POP as a charging hub at home. I have too many devices in multiple rooms right now because I need various outlets to charge them all. By plugging in the POP, perhaps in my bedroom, I can group the four most-used mobile devices and keep them charged while also gaining a large portable battery for travel. POP may have additional uses in the future as well. The team is open sourcing the design so that other can make add-ons for the top of the product, such as a speaker or solar charger.