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SpareOnePlus adds location tracking, audio alerts, keeps the 15-year life on a single AA battery eyes-on

Xpal’s SpareOne disaster-ready cellphone was one of the most intriguing devices we saw at last year’s CES. Using a huge capacitor, the stripped-down GSM handset promised a 15-year battery life from the charge of a single AA Energizer battery. While the call quality was basic, it could certainly be the sort of unit that you could stow in a first aid kit or car trunk for emergencies. Now the company has returned with the SpareOnePlus, which adds location-based data, readable with a smartphone app, which is good for keeping track of your loved ones on the go. Xpal has also tried to address one of our biggest gripes with the original by adding audio feedback, reading out the number that you’re dialing and telling you who’s calling — although we’re still wondering why they couldn’t stretch to a screen. Bundled in the package is also a waterproof bag that promises to keep your essentials dry for 30 minutes under one meter of water. The only sting in this tail is that this extra technology (and bag) comes at a price — which has increased from $50 to $99 and is expected to be available “early 2013.”

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