Anker's made a name for itself with high-capacity portable chargers that are still compact and easy to travel with. But the company is now launching a new smartphone accessories brand called Zolo that it hopes will also become synonymous with 'affordable' through the use of a crowdfunding campaign to cut out middle man markup.
The first Zolo product to be introduced through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo is a 3000mAh battery with modular accessories, including a smartphone case it can magnetically attach to, as well as a short magnetic microUSB cable that's less likely to get lost.
As far as batteries go it's not the most capacious you can buy, but it packs enough juice to recharge many smartphones twice over. What's impressive is that you can order one for just $US15 (with the cable), or $US20 if you want the smartphone case as well. For comparison, a 3000 mAh Anker battery on Amazon lists for $US40.
Many established companies have relied on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to reduce the financial risk of introducing a new device that might fail -- but why should consumers believe in the product if the company behind it doesn't?
With the Zolo line, Anker is using a crowdfunding campaign to eliminate the middle man and sell the new batteries directly to consumers at a substantial discount. If you're in the market for a portable charger, the Zolo battery is certainly a great deal from a well-established company, but the usual crowdfunded risks still apply here.
If the company's $US100,000 funding goal isn't met, the new line may never see the light of day. But as far as crowdfunding campaigns go, the "benefitting the consumer" approach is a welcome change to the "protecting the company" angle. [Zolo]