Notes From The Road: FastMac U-Socket Finally Shipping

It’s somehow fitting that I find myself this week in a hotel in Berkeley, California…and missing the charger for my cell phone. While I’ve been tasked with a project here in the Golden State said device seems to prefer taking a breather, recharging if you will, in my now quiet and comfortable home office. That shirker.

So, lacking a charger, I find it curious that FastMac has finally started shipping their U-Socket, an electrical outlet with built-in charger. U-Socket provides a pair of powered USB ports, which is great since so many devices have now settled on some variation of USB bus power as a charging scheme.

Claiming to provide a whopping 2.4 Amps (!) in total U-Socket has enough juice to charge four devices, supporting even heavy loads like smart phones, iPads and Mifi devices. Remember that some of these device require >700 mA to charge & operate while many USB ports are current limited to 500 mA. I wonder if FastMac has addressed the issue of parasitic power? That is, continuing to draw a meaningful amount of line power even when there is no device connected.

At $19.95 each they don’t seem too costly. Given how fond Stella has become of her Nook Color and G2 I could see these as practical for outlets near bedside nightstands in our home.

Hotels and motels the world over should take note of this device. It’s an obvious choice for such establishments…assuming that the prior safety concerns have been completely addressed.