Sunday 14 September 2008

Longer battery life for Notebooks

In the past decade the no of users switching notebooks has dramatically increased. Not only are the business personal, normal users accessing computer at home now preferring notebooks. The reason is quire simple as notebook/laptop provides mobility within the premises especially with wireless technology is now getting better.

The only limitation with the notebooks is its battery life. After using laptop for a while we do have to plug it back into the mains to charge it. Industry fully recognizes this limitation and hence the battle to create the notebook with the longer battery life is stepping up as every day passes by.

Dell recently announced new Latitude E6400 notebook with up to 19 hours of battery life. I am sure though the increase in battery life comes at the expense of extra weight. This increase in the battery life is due to the introduction of a new technology called a “slice,” which uses lithium-ion prismatic cell technology to extend the battery but it also added nearly 2 pounds of weight to the notebook.

On Sept. 8, HP announced that the company’s engineers had pushed the limits of battery life to the 24-hour mark with the EliteBook 6930p. So Hewlett-Packard has unveiled its own contender in response to Dell's announcement, where a new set of features for its HP EliteBook 6930p will push the battery life up to 24 hours. With a monster 12-cell lithium ion battery pack, HP claims that its new EliteBook 6930p is able to achieve 24 hours of runtime. As I mentioned above, off course this adds an additional 1.8 pounds to the laptop, which weighs 4.7 pounds with a "standard" lithium ion battery. However, the version of the notebook with 24 hours of battery life will not be available until October.

These developments from the likes of HP and Dell are definitely encouraged by the Intel’s new hardware which makes it possible to achieve higher goals. That is why it doesn’t surprise me that the HP announcement coincided with the release of new solid-state SATA (Serial ATA) drives from Intel, which are some of the key components to the notebook’s long battery life.

Since SSDs (solid state drives) use NAND flash memory and have no moving parts, these components reduce the laptops' overall power consumption.

As I mentioned above, the current business climate requires increased mobility and larger battery life for the notebooks. PC vendors such as Dell and HP are trying to target a new class of notebooks to enterprise road warriors who want to push the limits of mobility and who travel on airplanes for a good portion of the day or make several stops with customers across the span of several days. While 24- and 19-hour-battery life thresholds might seem a bit excessive, these claims by HP and Dell help showcase the ability of these vendors to push current battery technology to its limits. Notebook companies like HP and Dell also allowing users to download specific BIOS and driver updates that allow them to manipulate the power-saving features further.

It must be noted that since everyone is used to stretching the limits of battery performance, the actual "standard" usage life remains to be seen. Still, it is undeniable that as sales of laptops continue to dominate in the area of personal computing, it is inevitable that manufacturers reach out to globetrotting enterprise road warriors seeking to push the edge of mobility.


Anonymous said...

Hi Davinder,

One of the other areas not very relevant for this blog though is that these batteries used in Laptops are also being used in cars. There is a finite resource of metals used in these technologies and this is going to increase the price of the batteries dramatically. Its about time some new revolutionalry technology is invented by the manufacturers.


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-Have an amazing day!