We’ve often found ourselves longing for a public charger that could resuscitate our battery-dead gadgets. And now they’re actually happening – a company called BoxBrands is launching a hundred stations in the UK this month.
The ChargeBox can replenish a range of 24 different phones – the supported handsets are from big guns like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola – as well as iPods, PSPs and BlackBerries for charges starting from £1.
So, how does it work? The kiosks basically work like high-security gym lockers. Once you’ve found an empty compartment, you just find the right charger, close the door, pay your £1 – in either cash or by SMS – and lock the door with the removable key.
Your quid will get you 40 minutes charging – during which time you can do some more shopping – but you can interrupt it at any time, or add extra payment for even more juice.
Unfortunately, there are only two Chargeboxes in the UK at the time of writing: in the Novotel in Hammersmith and easyInternetcafe at Tottenham Court Rd. Don’t panic just yet though, BoxBrands is planning to install 100 by the end of the month, and 1000 by the end of the year.
The company’s MD also told us that the charger range will be expanded in line with customer demand (digicams are a possibility) and that the kiosks will be spread beyond the urban areas of the initial batch.
All in all, they seem to be a better idea than Vodafone’s mobile phone vending machines last year, if a bit more hassle than carrying an extra power source like the Solio charger around with you.
Check out the Chargebox website for more information.