Technical background

Technical background

Extending the battery life of roadwarrior accessories requires advances in components such as processors and screens, not just the batteries themselves.

The most power-hungry single component in a laptop or mobile phone is typically the backlight, but over the next few years these should be eliminated by developments in screen technology.

In particular light emitting polymer (LEP) screens are expected to make their first appearance in mobile phones this summer. LEP technology promises full-colour, high resolution screens with greatly reduced power consumption.

Lithium ion polymer is likely to be the most important short-term technology development for the battery industry. Cells made from this material promise to be around 30% smaller and lighter than a nickel cadmium battery of equivalent power.

They also do not contain toxic materials, and can be made flexible or even moulded to conform to the casing of the device they are intended to power.

A recent review suggested that we should see twenty hours between charges for laptop computers before the end of 2000.

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