Hewlett Packard recently expanded a worldwide voluntary recall and replacement program for select HP and Compaq brand notebook batteries. Some 162,600 additional laptop batteries are affected, joining 54,000 that were already recalled back in May 2010.
Verizon has just gotten its very first 4G LTE handset out the door, and the reception for the HTC Thunderbolt has been good so far. Though one major gripe users are complaining about is that that new LTE radio really gulps down power. PC Mag reports that their own testing only resulted in 2.5 hours of LTE streaming. The solution? A big honking battery apparently.
Imagine if your Zune HD or iPod touch could tolerate weeks, maybe even months of frequent use before needing to be recharged. Or if your smartphone could last even half as long, not in standby mode, but during normal use, like making phone calls, browsing the web, and playing games. For the most part, these scenarios have been pipe dreams filled with promises of new and exciting battery technologies that could turn these dreams into reality. The latest promise comes from a team of University of Illinois engineers who claim to have developed a form of ultra-low power digital memory that is both faster and uses up to 100 times less energy than similar available memory.
Designer Wonchul Hwang has come up with a novel design for a rechargeable AA battery. Unlike other batteries, this one pulls double duty as a 4GB USB drive.
The idea here is that it's primarily a USB drive, one that you presumably keep hooked to your computer most of the time, but can serve as a AA battery in a pinch. What's more, it's a rechargeable battery that's juiced every time you plug it into your PC's USB port.
"Students or office workers mostly carry a memory stick," Hwang explains. "If a memory stick could be used as an emergency battery, its use would be versatile, ranging from cameras to lanterns to speakers and other devices in outdoor activities."
View the schematics here, and then hit the jump and tell us whether you think this is a novel idea or about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
Idapt says its i1 Eco Universal Charger qualified as a CES Innovations Award Honoree, and with good reason -- it appeals to both gadget freaks and tree huggers alike.
The i1 Eco is made from recycled materials and is capable of charging most electronic devices. There are two points of charge, a USB port and a tip port. Idapt says interchangeable tips make the charger compatible with over 4,000 different devices, including popular items like the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, PSP, Xbox controllers, GPS products, and many, many more.
No word yet on price, though Idapt says it hopes to start shipping the charger in Spring 2011.
You have an Android phone. Your wife has an iPhone. And your kids? They're rocking basic cell phones. That's all well and good, but wouldn't it be great if all them shared a single type of charger?
Such a scenario could be a reality in 2011, the UK's Telegraph reports. Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Research in Motion (RIM), and 10 other big name mobile manufacturers have received details from the European Commission on a new standard connection.
"Now is the time for industry to show its commitment to sell mobile phones for the new charger," said Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission. "The common charger will make life easier for consumers, reduce waste, and benefit businesses. It's a win-win situation."
According to the EC, the lack of a universal standard puts a major damper on the environment, as "users who want to change their mobile phones must usually acquire a new charger and dispose of the old one, even if it is in good condition."
Ruh roh, Shaggy. If what we're hearing from news and rumor site Fudzilla turns out to be true, Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet could have a tough time taking on the iPad, Galaxy Tab, and every other slate. According to Fudzilla, battery life woes are proving to be a thorn in RIM's side.
"Apparently, the issue stems from the adapted QNX OS that powers the new PlayBook tablet along with the fact that the OS was never really optimized for battery life," Fudzilla explains. "To address this issue the engineers at RIM have had to adapt, refine and build new routines at low levels to allow the OS to only sip the battery power to extend battery life. Optimizing battery life isn’t an easy thing to do and takes significant time and work."
This isn't a death knell for the PlayBook, and most agree the device holds a lot of promise. But don't rule out a delay, either. The last thing RIM wants to do is push out a half-baked tablet to go up against competing slates boasting 6-10+ hours of battery life.
A team led by Sandia National Laboratories researcher Jianyu Huang have developed a battery that, if dropped, you're never going to find it. It's the world's smallest battery with an anode one seven-thousandth the thickness of a human hair, which was formed inside a transmission electron microscope (TEM) at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT).
"This experiment enables us to study the charging and discharging of a battery in real time and at atomic scale resolution, thus enlarging our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms by which batteries work," Huang explains. "What motivated our work is that lithium ion batteries have important applications, but the low energy and power densities of current LIBs cannot meet the demand. To improve performance, we wanted to understand LIBs from the bottom up."
The battery consists of a single tin oxide nanowire anode 100 nanometers in diameter and 10 micrometers long, a bulk lithium cobalt oxide cathode three millimeters long, and an ionic liquid electrolyte. What this does is allow the research team to observe changes in atomic structure during the charging and discharging phase.
"Our observations — which initially surprised us — tell battery researchers how these dislocations are generated, how they evolve during charging, and offer guidance in how to mitigate them," Huang said. "This is the closest view to what’s happening during charging of a battery that researchers have achieved so far."
So you just finished reading our high-tech flashlight roundup and you’re wondering how the heck any flashlight could command a price tag north of $500. We produced this guide to help you understand the technology introduced in that story.
Duracell's new myGrid USB charger purportedly offers plenty of power for all your mobile gear in a pinch. It comes with enough juice to provide at least four hours of run time for your smartphone, at least 100 hours of reading time on your Kindle or other eBook reader, and at 30 hours on your MP3 player.
"The mobile lifestyle isn't just about cell phones. From iPhones, GPS systems or portable games like the Nintendo DS series, consumers rely on a number of devices to stay connected, entertained and informed," said Bob Jacobs, Duracell marketing director, North America. "Duracell, through our Smart Power portfolio of products, is dedicated to providing consumers with the power solutions they need. USB Charger is a great example of this vision that gives you freedom to use your devices when away from the power grid."
Duracell says the myGrid works with hundreds of popular devices and virtually anything that can be connected via USB. It's also compatible with Duracell's myGrid charging pad.
The myGrid USB charger will in stores in time for the holidays with an MSRP of $35.