You probably read that notebook sales are growing faster this year than desktop units. This is one of the reasons why many designers are investing time and money in order to further boost laptop and handheld devices sales.
On August 3, I told you about water-cooled laptops that Hitachi will start shipping soon.
Now, Michael Kanellos, from CNET News.com, thinks that "the notebook will likely be smaller and lighter, capable of making cellular calls on its own and running on methanol."
Notebooks have to more acutely adapt to contradictory demands in the marketplace. Customers want large screens, fast processors and beefy hard drives -- three components that can require substantial amounts of electricity.
At the same time, they want long battery life, a notebook that measures less than an inch thick and a carrying weight less than four pounds--features that aren't easy to achieve in a high-voltage lap warmer.
This leaves engineers two choices. "Either you can supply more power into the platform or take more power out of it," said Mike Rocke, the strategic investment manager for the mobile products group inside Intel Capital, the chipmaking giant's venture capital arm.
PolyFuel, for instance, a spinoff of SRI International, is working on fuel cells for portable devices.
"You are building a miniature power production facility. You are producing electricity out of chemicals," Rocke said. It's also safer than a close chemical relative, he said. "You can get power out of these things below the flammability point of methanol."
The replaceable fuel cartridges initially will last two to three times longer than batteries but eventually last 10 times longer. Notebooks containing fuel cells will begin to arrive in late 2004 to 2005, he said.
The article also describes some other technologies that might appear in future notebooks, like supercapacitors, efficient solar cells, low-power screens, and new types of heat-dissipation techniques.
These are all more or less normal evolutions and that's fine with me. But frankly, I think I will feel nervous carrying a potentially inflammable device.
Source: Michael Kanellos, CNET News.com, August 19, 2002