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Juice squeeze: Batteries too weak
Newspaper reports that battery technology not keeping pace with advances in consumer electronics.
September 22, 2005: 7:37 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Battery technology is not keeping up with consumer electronics, according to an article.

USA Today reported Thursday that demand for longer battery life is outpacing improvements in battery technology. While advances in computer chips have increased the capabilities of devices such as laptop computers, cell phones and digital cameras, batteries haven't changed their basic structure since the 1940's. They still use chemical reactions to produce electric current.

"You can change the chemicals (to improve battery life)," Tony Mazzola, a technical manager with battery-maker Energizer, told the paper. "But you've still got a finite gas tank," he said.

Still, companies are introducing new products that try to meet the demand for longer battery life, the paper reports. Energizer recently introduced the e2 battery, which releases a slower stream of electric current. Mazzola says under ideal conditions, e2 batteries can take up to seven times more pictures in digital camera than standard batteries.

Japanese electronics-maker NEC also recently announced an organic radical battery, or ORB. It uses new chemical combinations and is lightweight so that it is ideal for backups when a PC's primary battery fails, according to the paper. But it is so new, it's not yet in any products.

Other technologies being developed include fuel cells. But such power sources are "just nowhere near ready for prime time," Kevin Wentzel, a technical manager with PC-maker Hewlett-Packard, told the paper.

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