HP to offer Boston-Power's 3-year laptop battery

A fast-charging laptop battery that promises to last at least three years without any degradation in performance is coming to the market as an option with Hewlett-Packard Co. laptops. The Sonata battery is the product of three years of development work by Boston-Power Inc. and will be rebranded by HP as the Enviro battery and offered with select machines beginning early next year.

The battery can be charged to 80% of capacity in 30 minutes, which could be useful for travelers who only have a limited amount of time near an electric outlet. And it will go 1,000 charges before the its capacity begins degrading. That's a charge a day for three years -- or four years if it's only used on weekdays -- so it should last the average life of a business laptop. Common laptop batteries today start to degrade after 300 charges.

"It brings a new level of performance to the market," said Christina Lampe-Onnerud, founder and CEO of Boston-Power in an interview.

HP will back up its longer-life promise with a three-year warranty, and the battery will cost $20 to $30 more than standard model. Users will be able to select it with certain machines during the customization phase of the ordering process. It will initially only be available in North America, but HP plans to offer it in other markets later.

Lampe-Onnerud first unveiled the Sonata battery at the Demo 2007 conference, and the company has spent two years developing the technology and preparing for mass production. Most of the batteries will be made by Taiwan's GP Batteries while some will come from HYB Batteries in China.

At the time of its launch at Demo, the battery was endorsed by Hewlett-Packard, and HP and Boston-Power have been working together ever since, so it was no surprise that HP became Boston-Power's first major customer.

Looking ahead, Boston-Power is hoping to pick up addition laptop vendors as customers and break into other markets, including consumer electronics and transportation, said Lampe-Onnerud.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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