Portable backup batteries for your iPhone or Android phone aren't an especially new thing, and they're very useful — they're a lifeline for a smartphone that's about to die far from a wall charger. Just about the only problem is that they themselves are not especially quick to charge, potentially stranding you in a difficult spot when your iPhone is out of juice and your backup battery is just as dead. The ASAP Dash solves exactly that problem.
The Dash doesn't do anything special when it's actually charging an iPhone or tablet or Android phone — that part runs at the usual 5 volts, 2.4 amps, charging your device at 12 watts. It's the other side of the equation — charging the portable battery itself at a massive 40 watts (19 volts, 2.1 amps — similar to a laptop's charger), filling its 5000mAh capacity in 15 minutes flat — that is impressive.
There's a good reason behind this, in my experience. I always leave the house with a fully charged phone battery — that's a given. And I always take a portable USB battery as a backup, just in case I use my phone a little too heavily and need a top-up. But I don't always check that my backup battery has a full charge — at three or four times the capacity of my phone, it's usually an overnight charge rather than a quick one.
The ASAP Dash's quick charging makes it convenient to top off your backup battery whenever you remember to — if you plug it in and go and make a cup of coffee, then drink it, it'll probably already be done when you get back to it. 15 minutes is short enough for that "oh crap, I forgot to charge, can I quickly fill it up?" last minute dash that we're all familiar with.
The ASAP Dash has almost cracked US$100,000 on Indiegogo, and the company says it'll ship units to backers in June this year. Considering it's already producing early samples that work as advertised — I've got one in my hands right now — I'd say that's a pretty realistic target. [Indiegogo / ChargeASAP]