Mobile phone fuel cells coming in 2007
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells mix methanol, air and water to make electricity
IDG News Service - A fuel cell technology that will offer a quick fix for dead or dying mobile phone batteries could be available in Japan by 2007, Japan's two biggest mobile communications carriers said today at the Wireless Japan 2005 Expo.
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), which typically work by mixing methanol with air and water to produce electrical power, have for years been promoted as an alternative to lithium ion batteries used in notebook PCs and other portable electronics gear. DMFCs are useful because power can be instantly provided by inserting a fuel cartridge recharger, developers say.
A number of Japan's biggest consumer electronics companies have been developing DMFCs, but the prototypes so far have been too big and bulky or incapable of producing enough power to be commercialized.
But officials at NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI Corp., Japan's No. 1 and No. 2 mobile communications carriers, respectively, now say they plan to have fuel cell rechargers for mobile phones in shops in 2007.
Japan's mobile phone vendors spent years trying to get the battery life of third-generation (3G) mobile phones to match that of the country's 2G digital phones. Next year, a new problem will hit vendors as they put power-hungry digital TV receivers into phones when the country's digital TV network goes nationwide. The antennas will cut usage time -- and that's where DMFCs will help, vendors and carriers said.
DoCoMo has a prototype charger on display at Wireless Japan that it is developing with Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. The device is close to making the cut for those of the carrier's nearly 50 million subscribers who are looking for a quick power fix, said Kazuhiko Takeno, a manager in the company's technical support group.
The recharger, which is a cradle design, is expected to be commercially available sometime in mid-2007, Takeno said, noting that the version on display at the Expo is a big improvement on an earlier model shown in September. While it's about the same size as the older model, the new prototype has enough power to recharge a mobile phone battery three times, he said. The prior model could recharge a battery only once.
Fuel-cell technology is also looking viable for KDDI's customers, according to Youichi Iriuchijima, an assistant manager at the company's IT development division.
At October's Ceatec Japan 2004 exhibition, Iriuchijima showed prototype rechargers from Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp., promising that improved versions would be available in 2006. That target date has slipped to January 2007, mainly because regulations will be changed that year to allow passengers to carry methanol on planes,
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Omnichannel: From Buzzword to Strategy Customers demand a seamless experience across channels, especially mobile. Read this whitepaper for a research-based framework for using omnichannel for higher customer engagement.
- The 5 Big Lies About Going Mobile You've heard about the power of mobile to change your business. But have you realized your mobile potential? It's about much more than...
- Developing a Winning Mobile Strategy: Playing Offense vs Defense Don't lose time and money with a "throw an app against a wall to see if sticks" approach to mobile. You need a...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more