Description: A solar-powered cell phone charger
Main Pitch: "Captures and stores solar energy" or any "indoor light soure"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one
Bonus: Upgraded unit with LED flashlight
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
I thought about these long and hard after a trip to Asia a few years ago because they were everywhere at the trade shows and because solar power is a hot topic here in the US. This is the best version of the idea, a backup power source that charges itself with outdoor or indoor light, but it still fails my test.
The problem: There are just too many other ways to get power if you need it. There are compact wall chargers, universal travel chargers, cigarette lighter and USB chargers -- even battery-powered quick chargers under big brands (e.g. Energizer). If you have an electronic device upon which you rely, chances are you've already purchased a backup solution or managed to live without one.
As for those moments when you are lost in the woods and your GPS runs out of juice ... well, you've probably got bigger problems in life.