Kickstarter, the crowd-funding portal, has a lot of interesting "projects" that are seeking backing, but it isn't always easy to tell how unique or exceptional they truly are.
Take the just-launched ChargeCard. It's a USB-charging cable for iOS devices that's in the shape of a business card. The ChargeCard looks cool but I seem to remember seeing other devices kind of like it. So I dashed off an e-mail to Noah Dentzel, one of the two guys behind the project (Adam Miller is the other), asking him how it was different -- or better -- than I product I'd found on eBay . The product I'd dug up had a built-in rechargeable battery while the ChargeCard was just a cable.
Great question. ChargeCard is better because it is 1/10th an inch thick. This one in the link is likely 4-5/10ths of an inch thick making it much more difficult than ours to stow in your wallet. Ours is 1/3rd the thickness of anything else on the market, which is vital when you're deciding what's worthy of your scarce wallet storage space. We agree the battery pack is useful, but it doesn't satisfy the core need: always having it on you when you really need it.
Dentzel called it a "jumper cable" for your iPhone. One nice feature is that it's designed to work with thicker, "tough" cases. As for what happens if Apple releases an iPhone 5 with a smaller connector port (there are strong rumors that it will), he said they looked forward to developing any future connectors once Apple released the specifications.
"For now though," he said, "ours works on the over 200 million iPhones sold to date, including the many hundreds of millions of iPods (and let's not forget iPads, too!)."
There you have it. A unique, useful product? You be the judge. As with most Kickstarter projects, if you make a pledge to buy the product (preorder it), you get a discount (the ChargeCard's retail price is set at $25 but you can get it for $18). If you increase your pledge, you can also choose from different color options and even get one with a customized inscription. The project will be funded if it raises $50,000.