Samsung’s latest smartphone accessory allows users to conveniently transfer a charge from select smartphones and tablets to any Micro USB device. It’s an interesting, if somewhat flawed idea, that highlights a change in our perception of the smartphone.
The concept of the Power Sharing Cable is straightforward – you link one end up to a compatible Samsung smartphone or tablet, and plug the other into any device that uses Micro USB for charging. There’s a Samsung companion app that lets you manage the amount of charge you’re transferring, and there are arrows on the cable tips to make sure the power is flowing in the right direction.
The cable can draw power from the Galaxy Note 4, Alpha, Avant and S5 smartphones, as well as the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and 8.4 tablets. If you happen to own one of those devices, then you’ll be able to hook them up to any Micro USB device.
The most obvious use here is charging a smartwatch from its paired Samsung smartphone. That’s a fairly enticing prospect if you use a smartwatch on a daily basis, but find the up times a little underwhelming (we’re looking at you, Moto 360).
Unfortunately, there’s one obvious downside to the idea. The uptimes on most modern smartphones are only sufficient to keep the handset itself comfortably running for a full day – start farming out charge to satellite devices like smartwatches, and the smartphone itself could struggle.
What’s perhaps more interesting than the practical use of the Power Sharing Cable, is the way that it highlights a development in how we perceive smartphones.
The smartphone has traditionally been seen as a satellite device, staying with the user at all times, providing a convenient, connected portal to social and professional lives. While mobile operating systems are becoming increasingly potent, it’s often still necessary to turn to a laptop or desktop when you need to get down to some serious productivity.
In the same way that the smartphone works in conjunction with a machine running a desktop OS, a similar relationship is developing between the smartphone and smartwatch, with the latter acting as a less productive, but extremely convenient extension of the former.
At the end of the day, the Power Sharing Cable is just that – a cable. It might highlight a shift in smartphone perception, but with most handsets struggling with more than a single day away from the charger, we can’t see that many users willing to sacrifice the charge of their primary device.
The Power Sharing Cable is available now for US$20.
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