Gadget lovers, rejoice: Toshiba has finally released its long-awaited portable fuel-cell charger for mobile devices. But at $320, the methanol cartridge-powered Dynario fuel cell isn't cheap.
A single cartridge can charge a single cell phone twice (or charge two cell phones once), via USB. But the methanol cartridges cost $35 for a five-pack. Charging a phone from the grid is still probably cheaper, and as more renewable energy sources come online, it could be just as environmentally sound--especially considering all the waste left over from used-up methanol cartridges.
For now, at least, the Dynario is only available in Japan in a limited run of 3,000 units. If sales go well, the device will most likely show up in stores around the world. But if solar cell-phone chargers continue to improve and gain popularity, don't be surprised if fuel-cell chargers stay firmly planted in the background. After all, solar chargers don't need to be supplemented every so often with expensive cartridges.