Here at CES, the annual gadget show in Las Vegas, a company called Finsix is showing off the world's smallest laptop adapter.
Using technology they developed at MIT ("very high frequency switching" for those of you keeping score at home), the group managed to shrink the innards of your common laptop charger down into something that could easily be mistaken for a cellphone charger.
The result is a highly portable, 65-watt power adapter that also sports an inline USB connector so you can charge your laptop and your smartphone (or tablet or just about any other portable device) at the same time. The plug itself is a two-prong plug, too, so you won't need to hunt for a three-prong outlet.
The Finsix charger will hit the market toward the middle of the year, with pre-orders to begin in March for around $90. It'll be a universal charger, with tips to fit the makes and models of popular laptops.
Therein lies the giant asterisk, however: Although Finsix wasn't shy about showing off its adapter juxtaposed against the relatively bulky MacBook power brick, the problem is that Apple doesn't license out the use of its MagSafe magnetically-attached power connector for use with third-party universal power adapters.
I spoke with Finsix VP Joe Scarci, who said they're hoping Apple might change its tune due to the Finsix adapter's unique design, but admitted that such an outcome is going to be a tremendous challenge. When I suggested the Apple might just buy the entire company – a small group based in Boston – in order to have the simple, stylish, dare-I-say-Apple-like adapter technology all to itself, Finsix CEO Vanessa Green cheerfully chimed in, "Well, wouldn't that be nice?"
In other words, keep your eye on this one.
Product page [Finsix.com]