Solar powered backup batteries make the great outdoors even better by keeping all your toys running, and Third Wave Power makes a convincing case for its new mPowerpad with the inclusion of extra functionality like a flashlight, radio and ultrasonic insect repeller.
The laptop sized device is covered on one side with a solar panel that can charge its 2500mAh battery in about six hours in optimal sunny conditions. If you cheat and use an AC adapter, it only takes about an hour. A couple of USB ports let you share all that power with your portable electronics, but it can also be used to run the mPowerpad's other built-in tools. A reading light, flashlight, AM/FM radio and insect repeller can each be powered for about twenty hours when it's fully charged, and switching between those modes is facilitated by simple tilting gestures detected by an accelerometer.
The lack of buttons or selector knobs also allows the mPowerpad to be water and dust resistant, making it ideal for outdoor excursions. It's supposed to begin shipping as early as January at an $80 price point, just in time for the blizzards and winter storms that like to knock out power in my neck of the woods. [Third Wave Power via Ubergizmo]