Most external battery packs charge through a USB cord, like the phones to which they provide backup power. But USB cords have low max amperages — usually around 500mA — which means they top out at slow charging rate. Instead of charging a battery through your phone’s charger, a smart new Kickstarter wants you to use the laptop charger you’re lugging around anyway.
The product is called ThinkPower, and it uses a Lenovo Thinkpad A/C adapter(sold separately) to charge a 10,00mAh battery in 90 minutes, if the Kickstarter’s claims are to be believed. The $40 battery pack has two USB ports so you can charge any USB connected device, like an iPhone or even a Raspberry Pi. A laptop charger usually has an amperage rating of around 3.5A, which is several times what a USB cord maxes out at. It’s a win-win situation: The battery can charge much quicker using the higher amperage, and you can carry one fewer cord around.
Of course, as a Kickstarter, there are still several additional hurdles: It still needs thousands of dollars in funding. Plus, there’s potential legal trouble. I’m not sure if the ThinkPower is authorized to use the Lenovo A/C connector — Apple has sued companies in the past for copying its MagSafe — and even if it is, the “Think” might be infringing on a few trademarks. So Lenovo could prematurely end this product’s development if it wanted to. But if it knows what a good idea looks like, it should hire the team and build one of its own.