updated 1/19/2012 9:48:26 AM ET 2012-01-19T14:48:26

It looks more like a TV remote, but for the first time there’s a phone that works with a AA battery.

It’s called the SpareOne. Like the name implies it is really designed to be a backup phone, the kind you store in a drawer and pull out when your primary device (for whatever reason) isn’t working.

The phone itself is very stripped down; this thing makes phone calls and text messages, and that is about it. But after all, in an emergency you’re not going to be updating your Twitter page. The phone uses SIM card technology and works on the GSM network – you can just pop in the one from your usual phone. But it also means the phone will work almost anywhere in the world. (Japan and South Korea are the only exceptions).

But the real draw of this thing is the AA battery. No other phone can do this and it means that a charger becomes almost unnecessary. The company says the phone will hold a charge for 15 years (or, the shelf life of the AA batteries you can get ith the phone).

Is there a down side? In a real blackout the mobile network will have some problems -- in 2003 New York City was left without power, and that included the cell towers. But a standard battery has been on the wish list of mobile device users from the get-go.

The SpareOne will go on sale at the web site for $49.99 by the end of March in the U.S.

Each weekday on TechNewsDaily, That's Useful! finds practical new gadgets, computing hardware, apps, appliances and other electronics that make sense and simply make life better.

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