Nokia: Bicycle Charger Kit for Mobiles

There was a major announcement today from Nokia about the release of cheap phones for the emerging markets, featuring dual sims and the ever useful LED flashlight. What is even more interesting is that with the launch of the phones, a bicycle charger kit. According to CNET Asia, the kit will be available by year’s end.

Bicycle charger kit for mobiles

Rounding up the announcements today is the Bicycle Charger Kit, which comprises a charger, dynamo and phone holder. When docked to the latter with a 2mm charger jack, the electrical generator will produce energy to juice up the handset. According to Nokia, the dynamo starts charging when the speed of the bicycle reaches 6kmh and stops when it hits 50kmh. It matches the efficiency of a normal charger when the bike is traveling at 12kmh.

The bicycle charger kit will be useful to many people in Kenya and other emerging markets, its only a matter of time before it is repurposed to charge other devices like small radios. All in all the phones seem AfriGadgetty, what with their dual sims; perfect for markets where people have more than one carrier – thinking of Nigeria here, where its not uncommon to see someone with multiple phones because of varying network coverage/dependability + LED flashlights, it is clear that Nokia is making products that have utility for millions of people around Africa. Personally I can’t wait to try out the phones and mobile kits as soon as I can get my hands on them. Come to think of it, this is hardware localization, something that could go hand in hand with the software localization we are clamoring for in the African market.

Bicycle charger kit for mobiles

For modded bicycle posts from the AfriGadget archive, click here.

Many thanks to my friend Cyrus for the heads up, I think he has just inspired me to blog again.

12 comments » Write a comment

  1. Pls note that Nokia is not the first company to offer such a charger as there have been similar attempts to this before, e.g.:
    1. http://www.engadget.com/2005/03/09/the-bicycle-cellphone-recharger-kit/
    2. http://www.ikonglobal.com/index.html
    3. http://www.heise.de/kiosk/archiv/ct/2007/23/190_kiosk (in German, includes PCB layout)

    The difference is that Nokia has the sleek design & reputation on the market. Am VERY curious to see artisans picking up on this asap the pcb layout is available (reverse engineering na kadhalika).

    Also, I would have preferred for Nokia to do a test on open design and push this as an open DIY project for dev countries a) to see how/if open design works, b) how such a simple charger can be officially rebuilt locally with the blessings of Nokia (thus killing China fakes?) and because c) only a very few will be able to cough up the equiv. of 15€ on a bicycle charger. So, this is a few years too late and also still too expensive.

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  3. When will such off-grid items be available in other markets besides Africa?
    Here in Portland, Oregon, USA, there are hundreds of bicycle commuters and students, so having a phone charger attached to the bikes would be wonderful!!

  4. am hoping the kenyan students who invented this one year ago are involved… otherwise its just a case of a giant corporate reaping where it has not sowed?

    Check this link out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8166196.stm

    I recalled this being featured in the news one year ago… never gave much thought to it perhaps due to my myopic vision, but now i see the potential when i remember the number of bicycles in India and China. This should make the students our first Kenyan technology billionaires in $$$… else it sucks big time.

    what do you think?

  5. I use to have something like this back in the 60’s for a light I had on my 3 speed bike. You could buy the light, generator and rear tail light from Canadian Tire. Good to see something old being reused for todays new gadgits & stuff :-)

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  7. @Athman Mohamed: I think the two Kenyans were not the first to come up with such an idea. See the other comments – this “technology” has been around for some time (it’s just a wire, a plug, a rechargable battery, a recitifier and the dynamo). Nokia only eventually turned this into one of their marketable products.

    I think the one important factor on this is that the Kenyan version could be made available and is much more affordable.

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