Anker makes some of the most popular portable battery packs sold on Amazon. Now the parent company of Anker is trying something different: instead of selling you a portable battery that you can lug around all day, AnkerBox will let you borrow or rent one just when you need it.

Here’s the idea: need to top off your phone? Just grab a battery pack from a charging station and you can use it for free for up to 30 minutes. Need more time? You can take it with you and use the battery for $1.99 per day. Just drop it off at any charging station when you’re done.

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Sure, it’s probably more cost efficient to just buy your own battery pack if you expect to need one more than a few times per month. But then you need to remember to keep it charges and to carry it with you wherever you go.

AnkerBox seems like it could be a decent alternative for folks that just need to use the service on rare occasions… or who can usually get by with the free 30 minute top-off.

AnkerBox is launching a pilot program in Seattle starting April 15th, and plans to place its system in about 200 locations including bars, gyms, and restaurants.

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The battery packs you borrow have a capacity of 6,700 mAh, which should be good enough to charge most modern smartphones at least 1-2 times. You’ll need a credit card to use the service, and AnkerBox will place a $35 hold on your card when you check out a battery.

While the battery pack rental fee is $1.99 per day, AnkerBox also lets you sort of “buy” the battery. If you hit $30, the battery is yours to keep. The company says this is how much you’ll be charged if you lose the battery or if you just want to keep it.

How AnkerBox Works from AnkerBox on Vimeo.

via TechCrunch



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