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While smartphones continue to improve markedly every year, a key component seemingly left in the dust is their battery, leading some companies to build portable batteries that can hold multiple charges for smartphones. In a twist, a charger based on a hydrogen fuel cell, originally designed for use in parts of Africa without mains electricity, is to go on sale in the US. The news was announced yesterday at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The Upp charger is made by Intelligent Energy, based in Loughborough, UK. Unlike lithium-ion battery devices, it is powered by removable hydrogen fuel canisters. It can provide five full charges for most smartphones, its makers claim, through a USB port.

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