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AT&T's Suspiciously Great Zero Charger Turns Itself Off

Zero ChargerWhat's the catch, AT&T? We're conditioned to dislike you, for your lackluster network, your high prices, and your continued hiring of Luke Wilson. But this charger looks...awesome.

The AT&T Zero Charger is a USB charger, meaning it's not designed for any one phone (or, for that matter, any USB-charging device, including PMPs, cameras, and GPS units). You just plug your device's USB cable into it, and the whole thing goes into the wall. It's a common solution, one that comes with most modern smartphones, because that way manufacturers can simply package in one USB cable and one cheap USB converter, rather than a USB cable and a full AC charger. But this is different.

Hardly any of us are diligent about unplugging our devices as soon as they reach full charge. Often we plug them in at night and unplug them in the morning, even though they need only a few hours to charge—and typical USB chargers will keep delivering energy to your device even after it's fully charged, which is both wasteful and bad for your battery. The Zero Charger is a so-called "smart" charger, meaning it senses when the device is charged and shuts itself off.

It's by no means the first to pull this trick—inductive chargers like the Case-Mate Hug and quite a few power strips have the capability—but it's one of the most mainstream, certainly the smallest, and one of the cheapest, at only $30. Only certain phones will be compatible with the Zero Charger: AT&T only specified that it'll work with their "most popular devices," which probably means the iPhone and, judging by the picture provided, BlackBerry. The Zero Charger will be released this May.