The Samsung phone in your pocket could actually be your portable battery as well. Samsung announced an odd new cord today with Micro USB plugs on both sides. In conjunction with the Power Sharing app, the Samsung Power Sharing cable gives select Galaxy phones and tablets the ability to transfer power to other micro USB-compatible devices.
While it’s a nice thought — the batteries on wearable devices like Samsung’s Gear smartwatches are tiny — it’s also silly. It’s understandable that [company]Samsung[/company] wants to give its devices unique, exclusive features, but this one’s a gimmick.
First, if you’re going to throw yet another cord into your bag, why not make it a standard Micro USB cable that can charge your Galaxy smartphone as well? If you have the room to add accessories to your daily carry, you can probably tote an external battery.
Second, while this accessory appears to be targeted at wearable technology, there are a good deal of smartwatches that use specialized charging cradles, so you’ll have to carry that around as well. Also, while Samsung’s high-end smartphones do get good battery life, they aren’t at the level where you don’t need to worry about sharing excess capacity.
Finally, it appears that the cable won’t be that efficient, with a significant amount of charge lost in the process. Samsung warns that “the full amount of selected battery power cannot be transferred due to power loss or usage during the transfer process.”
That’s not to say that a $20 cord that lets you share battery from your various devices is a bad idea, but it needs polish beyond what Samsung is proposing, with specific thought given to the scenarios where actual people might find the accessory handy. Samsung’s been experimenting with interesting cords and chargers recently — like this three-headed Micro USB cable — but until they offer a little more value, I suspect they will remain curiosities.