Acer: No Major Laptop Battery Improvement Coming

Jim Wong, president of IT products at Acer Incorporated, believes that notebook battery safety (think overheating Sony fiasco) is the main reason why fuel cells and other advanced technologies that can be used as batteries in notebooks won't likely be available for years. Electricity is generated by chemical reactions inside a battery, which produces heat as a byproduct. With so much chemistry involved, a lot more product testing is required, therefore battery technology progresses more slowly, Wong said. "The lithium-ion materials used in batteries today were discovered 30 to 40 years ago."

Fuel cells are promising, but the technology isn't ready yet, and an infrastructure needs to be in place before the technology can be widely used. Not only would fuel packets or refueling stations be needed for mass adoption of the technology in laptops, they would also need to be approved by aviation officials for use on airplanes. The battery issue is gaining more importance recently because the new era of multimedia laptops threatens to shorten battery life. "High definition is a most formidable enemy to battery life," said Wong. The power needed for HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players in notebooks can't simply be offset by bigger batteries and power management technology aimed at shutting off parts of the machine that aren't immediately being used.

News source: PC World

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