Usually, enabling Wi-Fi cuts into a device's battery life. RCA hopes to turn that concept on its head with the Airnergy Charger, a device that purportedly captures the energy from stray Wi-Fi radio waves and stores it in a battery.
The folks at OhGizmo! got the spiel about the device. On the CES show floor, the Airnergy Charger purportedly managed to charge a BlackBerry Bold smart phone "from 30% to full in about 90 minutes, using nothing but ambient WiFi signals as a power source." An RCA executive shows off the device and provides a little more background information in the following video:
OhGizmo! says the initial version of the Airnergy Charger pictured above, which has a built-in battery and what looks like a Micro USB connector, will become available this summer with a price tag of just $40. Not bad, but RCA has bolder ambitions. In the video, the executive says RCA intends to miniaturize the device and stick it into batteries next year. Those batteries should be priced competitively with plain phone batteries.
If you think this all sounds too good to be true, well, you're probably not the only one. Still, if RCA isn't smooth over any major caveats, then getting more mileage out of one's laptop or phone might soon involve embracing, rather than evading, the warm glow of Wi-Fi access points. Just hope you're not allergic. (Thanks to TR reader Brian for the heads up.)