Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Motorola and Angstrom Bring the First Fuel-powered Mobile Phone

Angstrom Power Inc., a company based in Vancouver, Canada, together with Motorola, the US mobile
manufacturer, have completed a six-months trial using a new technology that promises to reinvent the way
mobile phones are powered. Angstrom developed a revolutionary mobile solution intended to replace the standard Lithium batteries with a platform that uses hydrogen to provide the needed power.

The "Micro Hydrogen" platform includes a refillable hydrogen storage tank, advanced micro-fluidics and an innovative fuel cell architecture. Angstrom and Motorola implemented the new platform on a MOTOSLVR L7 (Motorola SLVR L7) phone, without changing the phone's looks and size (and we must say that MOTOSLVR L7 is a slim handset, having only 11.5 millimeters in thickness). With the hydrogen-powered platform, the phone managed to provide twice the talk-time than it does when equipped with a standard Lithium battery.

"As consumer demand for smartphones and multimedia devices grows, so does the need for efficient powering solutions that help enable 'always on' experiences," said Jerry Hallmark, Manager, Energy System Technologies, Motorola Mobile Devices business. "Motorola is working with Angstrom to develop fuel cell technology that will support the increasing energy demands of next generation devices."

"Our research shows that insufficient battery run time ranks as one of the leading considerations in the adoption of handheld devices with rich multimedia functionality," said Stuart Robinson, Director of Handset Component Technologies at Strategy Analytics. "Development of Lithium batteries is too slow to meet the growing energy demands of cellular handsets. Angstrom's achievement, the world's first successful integration of micro fuel cell technology into a standard mobile handset, demonstrates the potential of micro fuel cells to provide a better solution for demanding mobile energy applications."

Using hydrogen as fuel for mobile phones has also been considered by Samsung last year, when the South Korean company filed a patent application regarding this technology. Apparently Samsung works silently on this project, as we haven't heard about it since then.

The Micro Hydrogen platform from Angstrom Power Inc. is expected to be commercially available starting 2009 and the Canadian company foresees that by 2010 it will become highly popular. That's very likely to happen, but we must say that another method of powering mobile phones could be soon available too, as researchers from Stanford University discovered a new way to use silicon nanowires in batteries and provide a huge stand-by time. These being said, I can't help thinking that we might see a Hydrogen vs. Nanotechnology battle in a few years. May the best man.... pardon me, the best technology win!