Fund this: GoKey adds four handy gizmos to your keychain
It's a backup charger, a sync/charge cable, a flash drive, and even a Bluetooth locator.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Your keychain typically goes where you go, making it the logical place to store gadgets you want to have at the ready: bottle openers, flash drives, even game controllers and smartphone stands. As long as they're not too big and bulky, of course. The more stuff you add, the tougher it is to keep your keys in your pocket.
GoKey is a slim, compact keychain accessory that provides four handy items in one: backup charger, sync/charge cable, flash drive, and Bluetooth locator. It's not yet a shipping product, however, but instead an Indiegogo campaign seeking $40,000 in contributions. (It hit nearly $30,000 in its first two days and has a month left to go, so it should get there no problem.)
As you might expect, the GoKey has the look of an oversize key. Its big round head terminates in a USB stem, which is where you plug it into your PC to access the 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of onboard (and password-protected) storage. Flash drive, check.
That USB connection also charges the GoKey's internal battery, which the developers say can charge your phone for "up to two hours." Mobile charger, check. (The actual capacity of the battery isn't listed.Update:The vendor reports that it has a 400mAh battery -- small, but about what you'd expect for something that fits on your keychain.)
At the other end, a stowaway cable (Lightning or Micro-USB) folds out to connect to your smartphone for syncing and/or charging (check).
Finally, the GoKey pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth to help you when either goes missing. If you need help finding your keys, an app points the way. When it's your phone that can't be found, a press of the GoKey makes the phone ring. The effective range? Up to 100 feet, according to GoKey's makers.
The product is expected to sell for $59, $69, and $79 for the 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB versions, but early birds can get in for less. (At press time, however, only a few of the discounted contribution options were left.)
As someone who currently carries both a USB flash drive and a ChargeKey, I can definitely see the appeal of something like the GoKey. When you factor in what you'd pay to get four such gizmos separately, the pricing seems to work. The keychain-clutter reduction certainly does.
Now for the bad news: mass production isn't expected to start until December, though early birds should see their GoKeys by October. Your thoughts? Are you willing to wait that long?