Finally, your laptop can charge your tablet

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If you've ever traveled with your tablet, you've probably discovered an inconvenient truth: Your laptop's USB ports don't supply enough juice to charge that tablet.

That's why, for example, you see a "Not Charging" message when you plug an iPad into a typical USB port.

During this year's CES, I discovered a great little travel accessory designed to overcome that problem. The Digital Innovations ChargeDr promises faster USB-powered charging—not just for tablets, but for phones as well.

All you do is plug the dongle into a computer's USB port (it also promises benefits when used with wall and car chargers), then connect your regular sync/charge cable. According to Digital Innovations, the ChargeDr will charge tablets up to four times faster and smartphones up to two times faster.

Ah, but how? Although it seems improbable that any such gizmo could actually boost the power output of a USB port, it's definitely doing something. I tested it with my laptop and an iPad 3, and the latter did indeed start charging (as evidenced by the battery icon and the disappearance of the aforementioned "Not Charging" message).

Because I just got back from the show, I haven't yet had the chance to do any real-world testing—but I like what I've seen of the ChargeDr so far. (I'll update the post if I uncover any issues with Digital Innovations' claims.)

If you frequently run into on-the-go charging problems with your tablet, or just want to lighten your load (i.e. one less power brick to bring along), this might be a welcome addition to your carry-on bag.

The ChargeDr will go on sale in March for $29.99.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation’s largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.

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