10 Comments

Summary:

I have been following rumors of a new Toshiba laptop with interest. Not because it is cool — what has me excited is the Super Charge Ion Battery (SCiB) it’s reported to use. These batteries supposedly can be 90% charged in only 10 minutes.

toshiba-thin-laptop-rumored-600

I have been following the rumors of a new Toshiba ultra-portable laptop with great interest. Not because it is super thin and light — what has me excited is the Super Charge Ion Battery (SCiB) it’s reported to use. This is significant as these batteries supposedly can be 90% charged in a mere 10 minutes. Think about that for a moment. If you could charge your notebook battery in 10 minutes it could change the way you work while mobile.

Notebooks today have decent battery life, but nowhere near all day capability for the most part. While notebook batteries have gotten better in the last few years, improvements have been slow and incremental. Notebook components have continued to get more power efficient to help out in this regard, but the magical all-day battery is largely still a myth.

This is why the SCiB technology has the potential to be game changing. Even if it only lasted 3 or 4 hours on a charge, if you could charge it in just a few minutes (instead of hours like typical batteries) that short life might not be such a big thing for mobile workers. If you could plug in for a few minutes and revive your laptop, it could make all day working on battery power a reality.

I hope this Toshiba laptop hits the market — to get this battery in use if for no other reason. I have a feeling it will not be cheap, as significant improvements rarely are. I am certainly watching closely to see how this develops.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers

  1. That’s rather amazing, 90% charge in ten minutes. I guess we are assuming that the battery gives at least a “normal” run time of 2 to 4 hours in this case. . .

    Share
  2. All day battery a myth?

    My 17″ MBP will easily get 6 h of battery life with the screen turned down and only doing surfing, email and word processing. If I am careful, i can push it as far as 8h of hands on time. If I can get it on a charger for 20-30 min (ie lunch) I can go 12h.

    Even the iPad gets 12h of life with video or 15-18 if just doing email, surfing and word processing.

    Now it is more of a matter of how big a device I want to carry. The 17″ MBP for full featured desktop work, but with slightly less battery and heavier. Or I can go ultra light weight with the best battery life, but compromise a bit on which software i have available.

    Surprisingly I am finding the iPad to be a robust mobile productivity device. Once you get used to the soft keyboard, I can do 75% of what I need on the iPad.

    Share
    1. I was able to get all-day use out of a Toshiba NB305 netbook easily – the only time I ever plugged in was overnight to charge. If you take the time to look around you will find a few netbooks and notebooks out there already that can go the full 9-5 day on a single charge, so this definitely is no longer a myth.

      On the other hand, if you carry something like the Energizer XP18000 in your gear bag, all-day power becomes a reality with just about any device.

      Share
  3. Lithium-ion batteries reach full charge when the amount of energy you are putting in is basically converted directly to heat instead of being stored as electro chemical energy.

    The normal chargers charge at a constant rate of about 2 amps until they hit 90% then taper off the current to sneak up on the fully charged point. If you exceed the fully charged point by much the battery catches on fire. (so you sneak carefully up to fully charged)

    For a six cell battery a constant current charge rate of nearly 24 amps would be needed to reach 90% in 10 minutes. If 2 amps can melt the battery and set the laptop on fire imagine what 24 amps can do if something “silly” happens with the charger circuit.

    And of course there is also the “defective battery” issue that hit Sony a few years ago and forced all those battery pack recalls. Manufacturing defects can lead to short circuits inside the battery pack that directly convert the charge current into heat.

    There is also the “dropped battery” failure mode. Sometimes when you drop a battery pack the shock causes shorts inside the delicate structure of the battery.

    Ether way, 24 amps into a shorted battery will produce spectacular results.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Toshiba can get this thing through UL testing.

    Share
    1. If I had to make a guess, this is not a conventional Liion battery where it has to be charged from 1% to 100%, but based off of the MIT research from a year back that allows for instant recharge and discharge of a battery… so even though more power may be going to the battery pack, each individual component would get the same amperage

      Share
  4. Toshiba’s Li-ion tech is based on an improved chemistry for the anode that reduces the internal resistance.

    Ohm’s law says power goes up at the square of the current times the resistance. P = I2 x R (http://www.ajdesigner.com/phpohmslaw/ohms_law_resistance_power_current.php ). So if you want to raise the current by a factor of 12 you need to reduce the resistance by at least an inverse square amount or the anode will essentially convert all the charge current to heat.

    The challenge with anode design for lithium batteries is that metallic lithium is toxic (which is why they now tightly control how many and how large your lithium batteries can be on airplanes.) So all anode designs work around this issue in some manner that tries to get to the inherent low resistance of pure metal and yet passivate the toxic lithium in some manner. Lithium polymer batteries for example use a plastic (polymer) anode.

    The recent MIT research has been into using nano filaments to increase the surface areas available for electro chemical reaction. Which also helps reduce the anode resistance but doesn’t solve the inherent safety issue of lithium ion chemistry having no fully charged state.

    The batteries used in a Segway i2 though use lithium phosphate technology which has a stable fully charged chemistry. When fully charged a lithium phosphate cell’s internal resistance gets so large you essentially can’t run any more current into it, which shuts off the ability to charge it. Very cool in my book.

    Lithium phosphate cells though inherently store less energy than conventional lithium cells so they’ve been limited to less weight sensitive applications like Segways where the Segway hauls the battery around for you. :-)

    Share
  5. Sounds impressive…

    Hopefully you do not have to carry around a 20lb powerbrick to achieve this though

    Share
  6. I just got this laptop for my wife. The battery seemed ok and was charging fine until the other day. When my wife turned the laptop on, (it was plugged into the AC cord) it said that the battery had only 10 minutes left and then shut itself down, even though it was still plugged in to the AC power adapter.

    Now it won’t turn on at all. When you press the power button, the battery light on the front just flashes amber for a couple of seconds and goes out. I am assuming that the battery has gone bad, but our other laptop has a bad battery but still powers up if I have it plugged into the AC power. Any help would be appreciated. The owners manual for this new laptop isn’t really clear about a blinking battery light. It just talks about the blinking AC power light. Thanks.

    Share
  7. Great feature if its real.Battery life is the one area tech has stagnated in. My 13inch MacBook pro is advertiser at 7 hours, but gets more like 3:45 to 4:30 max. I did put a 7200RPM drive in it, something Apple doesn’t offer but even before the upgrade I never got 5 hours.
    Still 4 hours is okay, but not great in a non changeable battery design.
    A fast charge with good life would be a great innovation.

    Share
  8. any idea of the model of this laptop? the SCiB battery technology was announced 2 years ago and finally come out a laptop for implementing this tech? this is for sure worth to taking a look.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post