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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

RCA Airnegy promises mobile phone recharging from WiFi signals

Last week's International CES in Las Vegas saw the appearance of the RCA Airnegy, a dongle-sized device that claimed to recharge mobile phones by using WiFi signals. The company said they'd demonstrated Airnegy taking around 90 minutes to charge a BlackBerry Bold from one-third battery capacity to full. RCA says the 'WiFi hotspot power harvester' device will go on sale later this year for $40 (around £25), with plans to incorporate the entire technology in a battery next year.

However initial enthusiasm for the device has turned to scepticism, with a number of online commentators pointing out the difficulty of generating enough power by harvesting 2.4GHz WiFi signals. One suggested that battery charging would take years, not hours.

It'll be interesting to see if the RCA Airnegy reappears at next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

[Additional sources: OhGizmo.com has a video clip of the device, as has Engadget.com. BoingBoing.net and dansdata.blogsome.com both comment on the technology claims. RCA was once the Radio Corporation of America, although today the RCA brand is owned by Thomson Inc and is licensed for use by other companies as well.]

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