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Stocking Stuffer: YoGen Mobile Charger ($40)

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Did you know you can recharge your mobile devices without an actual power outlet? It’s true! You can use solar power, magic, or little alternators like this YoGen charger.

It’s a simple device that comes with mini-USB and iPod tips — other tips are available, too. There’s a little pull out ripcord that you yank back and forth which, in turn, generates a trickle of electricity for whatever’s plugged into the other end.

The product packaging promises a “rate of charge similar to standard chargers.” I can’t really verify that but I can tell you that after about three minutes of tugging, my T-Mobile G1 phone went from 29% battery to 30% battery – so plan accordingly. You’re not going to replenish half your battery in a timely manner. We’re talking emergency minutes here.

And though the review unit sent to me came with an iPod tip along with the mini-USB tip, I got the following message when I took my iPhone for a whirl with the YoGen:

IMG_0478

Fun. Owning an iPhone is like living with your parents after you’ve turned 18. You come home late and/or drunk, they yell at you, you counter with “I’m an adult now!,” to which they reply, “As long as you live in our house and eat our food you play by our rules.”

You like free food, the house is spotless, and you have no money for rent anywhere else, so you shut up. Similarly, you want the cool iPhone, and you quickly find out that you can’t plug anything into it that isn’t a white cable. Tough but fair (and admittedly overly simplistic).

Whatever the case, I’m guessing/hoping this issue will be worked out by the time the production-quality units ship on December 9th. YoGen’s store page lists iPods and iPhones as compatible, but if you’re thinking of buying one for your iPhone you may want to wait and see what other owners have to say once the units start shipping. As for mini-USB devices (like the other phone I tested) there shouldn’t be too many issues (if any).

UPDATE: Got this from YoGen’s PR contact: “The YoGen has recently been approved by Apple to be an official supplier, and will be getting a proper connector when the paperwork is all done. In the meantime, the connection they currently have for iPhone works on older phones (2GS), but it will not work on the new 3GS.”

The $40 YoGen Charger is available for pre-order in clear or black colors and with Apple + mini-USB connectors or LG + Nokia + Sony Ericsson + micro-USB connectors.

Order YoGen [YogenStore.com]

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