Are batteries even necessary?
NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley has revealed mandatory back-up laptop batteries as the biggest source of complaints from trial users of the National Broadband Network.
The batteries, installed at more than 800 premises on the mainland during the NBN trial phase, were designed to power the voice ports on the network termination unit attached to a house in the event of a blackout.
However, they were largely unused by residents in the first release sites who used VoIP telephony, wireless handsets and mobile phones instead of low-power analogue phones.
The first opportunity for users to test out the voice ports and battery back-up came this month.
Even those who planned to use the voice ports on the NBN doubted the battery’s purpose.
Quigley told attendees of the Commsday Summit in Melbourne that users had complained about the size of the boxes and the requirement to replace the battery after five years.
“That is a thing that most people object to which is something we obviously need to be talking to the Government about how we address that because it is probably the biggest complaint we get,” he said.
“There’s potentially a lot of battery backup units being deployed for little return.”
The Federal Government planned to consult on the issue but required NBN Co to install the back-up MAKITA 1220 Power Tools Battery at each fibre-connected premises as an interim measure.
Representatives of the Department of Broadband told a Senate committee in February that a discussion paper was being prepared.
A spokesman for communications minister Stephen Conroy could not clarify this week when it would be released.
The interim measure remained despite concerns from the Greens in February that it would leave landfills full of millions of disposed batteries in several years.
Should it continue across the full rollout of the network, a backup battery device would be installed at each of the more than 12 million premises NBN Co expects to pass with fibre by 2021.
Quigley argued that the Dell vostro 1500 laptop batteries would still be required in cases where NBN users wished to use a voice-only service through an older telephone.
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Telstra had provided a similar backup unit as an option to residents in the South Brisbane fibre rollout area, while maintaining laptop batteries to premises where they were deemed a medical necessity.
NBN Co continued to discuss the issue with Government but Quigley told iTnews that the network builder could not alter current arrangements without a policy change.
“We can say, ‘Here are the pros and cons of what we see’, but it’s a Government decision,” he said.
“As long as this issue is resolved even within the next year, it’s not a big deal.”
The network wholesaler has not yet signed mass supply contracts for Dell d620 batteries.
Laptop battery packs information and knowledge base
If it seems like a long time ago since we first saw the Eee Pad Slider, that’s because it was way back at CES when Asus first let us get our hands on the 10.1-inch Android tablet with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
The Slider was originally supposed to come out in May, though later Asus reportedly pushed that date to August. Now some reports are saying that the latest tablet from Asus will hit retail shelves in September.
Why believe the hype this time around? Well, Asus has posted some specs for the Eee Pad Slider SL101 on its website, for one. And an Asus Italy rep has apparently told Notebook Italia that the delayed tablet is arriving in that country next month.
As with all of the assorted product release rumors out there, we’ll believe it when it’s officially confirmed by Asus that the Slider has an official release date. For now, it’s still useful to look at the specs Asus posted this week, if only to refresh your memory as to what you’ll be getting with this tablet.
Basically, the Slider that’s coming out in September (or whenever) is the same one that batteries-company.com saw at CES in January, with a couple of big differences.
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First, the CES demo version of the Eee Pad Slider ran Google’s Android 2.2, because Honeycomb wasn’t ready for prime time then. The Slider that’s shown on the Asus site runs Android 3.1 Honeycomb with an upgrade path for Android 3.2.
Second, battery life is quite a bit better in the release model as well. The demo Slider promised about six hours of laptop battery life, while the release version’s 25Wh Li-Polymer battery can deliver up to eight hours between charges, according to Asus.
Other components and features remain the same. The Eee Pad Slider SL101 has a dual-core, 1.0Ghz Tegra 2 processor from Nvidia, a 10.1-inch LED Backlight WXGA display with ten-finger multi-touch support and 1280-by-800 resolution, 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera and 5 megapixel rear camera, and comes in 16GB and 32GB flavors.
The Slider weighs in at 960 grams and comes in either brown or white. It supports Adobe Flash and multi-tasking. Applications include ASUS Launcher, MyLibrary, MyNet, MyCloud, File manager, Kindle books, Zinio Magazine, PressReader, Polaris Office, and ASUS sync.
Asus has said the Slider will support 3G connectivity but isn’t making its carrier partnerships known as of yet.
The Verdict: The 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s combines a dash of style with an excellent keyboard and all-day endurance.
The 14-inch member of Lenovo’s small-business-oriented ThinkPad Edge family of laptops, the ThinkPad Edge E420s promises a strong combination of sleek looks, portability, performance, and typing comfort. But is this 14-inch Core i5-powered notebook ($889 as configured) the best choice for mobile professionals on the move? Heck yeah.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s business laptop offers a sporty reinterpretation of the classic ThinkPad motif. While design elements such as the Edge E420s’ Lenovo logo, bright red TrackPoint, and dark color are all ThinkPad staples, the notebook’s chrome trim, end-to-end infinity glass, and rubberized chassis breathe new life into this tried-and-true aesthetic.
If you look at the deck in bright light, you’ll also notice that the Edge E420s is actually a very dark green–Lenovo calls it “moss black”–rather than the traditional ThinkPad black. We particularly like the small touches, such as the red light that sits above the “I” in the ThinkPad logo and blinks when the system is asleep and the soft-touch bottom.
At 4.4 pounds and 13.7 x 9.3 x 1.2-inches, the ThinkPad Edge E420s is one of the most portable 14-inch notebooks on the market, weighing less than the Toshiba Tecra R840 (4.6 pounds), the Lenovo ThinkPad L420 (5.2 pounds), and the Dell Latitude E6420 (6.2 pounds).
Keyboard, TrackPoint, Touchpad
The ThinkPad Edge E420s features a spill-resistant, island-style keyboard that provides the same legendary quality and responsiveness we’ve come to expect from Lenovo business notebooks. With curved, “smile-shaped” keys that make it easy to avoid adjacent-key errors, a comfy rubberized palm rest that cradles your wrists, and a heavy dose of tactile feedback, the Edge E420s allowed us to achieve a high rate of 86 words per minute on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, 8 percent above our typical score. Too bad the keyboard isn’t backlit, like the new HP ProBook 5330m.
Click to enlarge
Like other ThinkPad notebooks, the Edge E420s has both a TrackPoint pointing stick and a touchpad. In general, we prefer the TrackPoint, because it provides the most precise navigation available on any notebook while allowing touch typists to keep their hands on the home row.
The Edge E420s’ 3.7 x 2.4-inch touchpad provides comfortable, accurate navigation around the desktop. And though the buttons are built into the pad, we had no issues with jumpiness like we’ve experienced on many other notebooks with “clickpad”-style designs. Multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom worked fairly smoothly, though we sometimes needed to repeat the gesture for rotating images in order for it to register.
The ThinkPad Edge E420s stayed extremely cool throughout our testing. After streaming video for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured a chilly 81 degrees, the keyboard a frigid 85 degrees, and the bottom a mere 87 degrees Fahrenheit. We consider temperatures below 95 degrees Fahrenheit comfortable and below 90 degrees imperceptible.
Display and Audio
Click to enlargeThe 14.1-inch, 1366 x 768 glossy display on the ThinkPad Edge E420s provided bright, colorful images and decent viewing angles. However, because the 200-nit display is covered end to end in glossy infinity glass, the screen can be a bit reflective and colors wash out at angles greater than 45 degrees to the left or right.
The ThinkPad E420s’s Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip allowed it to handle any video we threw at it with great aplomb. From a 1080p QuickTime trailer for Thor to a 720p streamed Flash episode of Fringe, videos were smooth and sharp.
In our testing, the quality of the ThinkPad E420s’s audio playback varied based on the type of music played. When we listened to bass-heavy tunes, playback was accurate, though not overly rich. However, when we queued up a heavy-metal tune, the sound was noticeably tinny and we could feel the speakers quaking. At maximum volume, anything we played was loud enough to fill our entire one-bedroom apartment.
Ports and Webcam
The ThinkPad Edge E420s has two USB ports (one of which can sleep and charge) on the right side of the chassis along with HDMI and a combo headset/mic jack. On the back are an Ethernet connection, eSATA/USB port, and VGA out. On the left side are an SD Card reader and a slot-loading DVD drive. We only wish the ThinkPad Edge E420s had a USB 3.0 port to enable faster backups.
Whether we were speaking on Skype or just previewing the image in Lenovo’s conferencing control panel, the 720p webcam provided reasonably sharp, clear images with smooth motion. However, in low-light environments such as our office cubicle or right next to a window on an overcast day, our face was covered in shadow. The camera is not Skype HD-certified, so if you want to chat at 1280 x 720 resolution, you’ll need to use another application such as OoVoo or WebEx .
With its 2.3-GHz Core i5-2410M CPU, 320GB 7,200-rpm hard drive, 4GB of RAM and integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip, the ThinkPad Edge E420s provides solid performance that’s great for most tasks. On PCMarkVantage, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall system performance, the ThinkPad Edge E420s scored a reasonable 6,290, which is comfortably higher than the 5,438 category average for thin-and-light notebooks, but trails the 2.5-GHz Core i5 powered Toshiba Tecra R840 (7,728) and the 2.5-GHz Core i5-enabled ThinkPad L420 (7,354).
The 320GB 7,200-rpm Seagate hard drive booted into Windows 7 Professional in a speedy 40 seconds, 25 seconds faster than the category average (65). It took the drive 2 minutes and 41 seconds to complete the LAPTOP File Transfer test, which involves copying 4.97GB of mixed media files. That’s a rate of 31.6 MBps, quite a bit faster than the 25.5 MBps category average and the 24.2 MBps turned in by the Toshiba Tecra R840.
When it came to transcoding video, the ThinkPad Edge E420s was no slouch. Taking advantage of Intel’s Quick Sync technology, the E420s took just 37 seconds to transcode an HD video using Cyberlink Media Espresso, a full minute less than the category average (1:37) and on a par with the ThinkPad L420 (0:34). When converting a 114MB MPEG4 to AVI format using Oxelon Media Encoder, the Edge E420s took a reasonable 55 seconds, just faster than the 59-second category average.
The ThinkPad Edge E420s’s Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip is good enough to play back HD video and perform most business tasks, but we wouldn’t recommend it for hardcore gaming. On 3DMark06, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall graphics prowess, the notebook scored 3,627, on a par with the 3,622 category average but behind the Toshiba Tecra R840 and its AMD Radeon HD 6450M chip (4,369).
The ThinkPad Edge E420s managed a rate of 30 frames per second in World of Warcraft with the graphics set to Good, which is playable. When we turned up the special effects, that number dropped to an unplayable 15 fps, less than half the category average (30.6 fps).
Battery Life and Wi-Fi
With its embedded battery, the ThinkPad Edge E420s lasted an impressive 6 hours and 41 minutes, nearly two hours longer than the 4:55 category average and similar to the Toshiba Tecra R840 (6:34). The ThinkPad L420 trailed by nearly half an hour (6:14). Because of its long Lenovo thinkpad t61 extended battery life, we think the E420s is a better choice than the 12.5-inch ThinkPad Edge E220s, which weighs 1.2 pounds less but lasts only 4 hours and 55 minutes on a charge.
The ThinkPad Edge E420s’s Intel WiFi Link 1000 802.11n radio provided below-average transfer rates of 23.3 Mbps and 15 Mbps at distances of 15 and 50 feet from our router. Those numbers pale in comparison to the 35.6 and 22 Mbps category averages and the 33.9/19.8 provided by the Toshiba Tecra R840.
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Our review configuration of the ThinkPad Edge E420s carries an MSRP of $889. For that price, you get the 2.3-GHz Core i5-2410M CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, Bluetooth, and Windows 7 Professional.
However, the notebook starts at just $699. For that price, you get a 2.1-GHz Core i3-2310M CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 5,400-rpm 250GB hard drive, no Bluetooth, and Windows 7 Home Premium. Lenovo offers few customization options, only letting you choose between Core i3/i5 CPUs, Windows Home and Professional, 4 to 8GB of RAM, and a variety of hard drives. We recommend the 7,200-rpm hard drive, a $70 premium, because it should make applications open a bit faster.
Software, Security, and Warranty
Click to enlargeThe ThinkPad Edge E420s comes with a standard array of Lenovo ThinkVantage utilities. These include the ThinkVantage power manager, which allows you to exert fine control over the power settings; Enhanced Backup and Restore; and Airbag protection, which stops your hard drive in the event of a fall. Our favorite ThinkVantage software is the Web Conferencing manager that allows you to set the microphones for single or multi-person use, to configure the webcam, and to turn on keyboard noise suppression for VoIP calls.
In addition to ThinkVantage utilities, the ThinkPad Edge E420s comes with a couple of pre-loaded applications. Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition allows users to access basic Office functions or upgrade to a full version of Office for a price. A trial edition of Norton Internet Security 2011 provides 30 days of protection. Skype and Adobe Reader are also on the hard drive.
The ThinkPad Edge E420s also comes standard with a fingerprint reader, which can be configured to log you into Windows with a single swipe. Using the finger enrollment software is easy enough. However, we wish Lenovo used a powered fingerprint reader that can cold boot the computer like it does on the ThinkPad X1.
Lenovo backs the ThinkPad Edge E420s with a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor. See how Lenovo fared in our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands report.
The iPad is far from the only tablet in town. The slate market has exploded with big players from Lenovo, Acer, Sony, and ASUS bringing their unique take on slates to the table. There’s the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which pairs with an innovative detachable keyboard, making it ideal for work and play. Then there’s the ThinkPad Tablet, which is compatible with a stylus for drawing and taking notes on the fly. Whether you’re a fan of Apple or Android, these are the top 10 tablets to buy now.
Apple iPad 2
With its ultra-slim design, faster dual-core performance, FaceTime camera, and gobs of compelling apps, the iPad 2 is the tablet to beat.
Acer Iconia Tab A200
The Acer as07b31 battery Iconia Tab A200 delivers solid performance and some welcome interface enhancements to Android for an affordable price.
Amazon Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire is the best value-priced tablet yet, offering easy access to loads of content and apps in a well-built design.
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime
The first quad-core tablet, the svelte ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime has a brilliant IPS display and comfy keyboard dock.
Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet (8GB, 16GB)
The Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet offers a superior eReading experience, a great display, and smooth performance for an affordable price. The newest model features 8GB of storage for $199 or choose the 16GB model for $249.
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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
An accurate digital pen and robust software and security make the ThinkPad Tablet a compelling device for mobile professionals.
The Pantech Element provides impressive 4G LTE speeds in a water-proof design, but the overall cost is a bit pricey.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is a seriously powerful tablet that doubles as a super-smart TV remote.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Wi-Fi)
Samsung’s super slim and light Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a beautifully designed tablet that does justice to the Honeycomb experience.
Sony Tablet S
The Sony Tablet S provides lots of fun entertainment options–including PlayStation games–in a sleek design, but it’s not a finished product yet.
Bye bye Spotify, hello free Nokia Music
Last week Nokia rolled out Nokia Music for the Lumia 710 and Lumia 900 devices here in the US. Nokia Music was a Lumia exclusive service released with the Lumia 800 outside the US, but it took almost a year to get it up and running here. I have been using it on both my Nokia Lumia 900 and Nokia N9 MeeGo device (yes, it runs on the N9 here in the US now too) since the release and have removed Spotify from both of these devices as this new FREE meets MY mobile music listening needs. Let’s take an in-depth look at Nokia Music on the Lumia 900 and if you have a Lumia 900 or 710 I highly recommend you give it a try, it won’t cost you anything but your time.
Nokia Mix Radio
I do not have a large personal music collection and have a rather eclectic taste in music where I listen to classic rock, Christian, classical, jazz, and country. It really depends on what I am doing and what kind of mood I am in. I have some favorite artists, but am open to listening to new artists as well so I prefer the “radio” model of listening where lots of different content is provided on a random basis to my devices. Thus, I am a perfect candidate for something like Nokia Music and I understand that some people prefer to listen to their own playlists and specific artists. There are lots of choices for all of us and so far I think Nokia Music was made just for people like me.
The Nokia Mix Radio functionality is provided by Nokia by real people and not machines. There is a team at Nokia that creates the unique Mix Radio playlists from approximately 17 million songs. There are AT&T exclusive mixes, featured mixes, top chart mixes, exercise mixes, mood-based mixes, celebrity mixes, and more. Nokia reports there are over 150 playlists available. You can even enter in your favorite artists and have Nokia Music develop custom mixes. I am a big fan of Sanctus Real and have a custom mix that is based on their sound. Nokia Music shows your recent mixes and lets you quickly access them later. Mixes can also be pinned to your Start screen for easy access and these Live Tiles actually do show album art and status of the mix.
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Another major benefit of the Nokia Music service and Mix Radio is the ability to download music for listening to without a connection. Nokia Music supports offline download of music for a period of time from three to four hours of playback (I am trying to find out an official length allowed by the service). This is great for flights or other times when you do not have an active connection. If you need more music than this for offline usage then you can always switch to listening to any of your own music stored on your device or enjoy music you purchased through the Nokia Store.
While the real strength of discovery and exploration of music is found in Nokia Mix Radio, some people want to listen to their own music. Nokia brings in access to music stored on your device so you can use Nokia Music to select and play songs without having to use the Music utility found in Windows Phone. On the Nokia N9, your own music is found in the Music app while the Music Store app is where you go to listen to “radio” channels and purchase music.
When you tap My Music from within Nokia Music you will see all of the music stored on your device assembled in pages for artists, albums, songs, genres, and playlists. I cannot find any way to create a playlist on my Lumia 900 and the playlists screen instructs me to connect to a PC for playlists. This module functions much like the Windows Phone Music utility with controls for play, pause, forward, backward, shuffle, and repeat. Music controls can be accessed from above the lock screen as well. Unlike the current Windows Phone utility, you can also share what you are listening to with your social network (Windows Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook), via email, or via SMS. I like this ability to share with my social networks and hope Microsoft adds that to Windows Phone, something even the Zune HD has in place.
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Nokia Music Store
If there is song you really enjoy and want to use it on other devices or make sure it is always in your collection then you can purchase songs from the store. I see that most individual songs are $1.29 each, but there are full album prices that reduce the per song price quite a bit. For example, I see one album at $9.90 that comes with 14 songs (71 cents per song). It would be great to see album and song specials, similar to what Amazon provides.
My wife and I have been reliving our youth when we never went to concerts and have seen Journey, Foreigner, Night Ranger, Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Weird Al Yankovic over the last year. Nokia has a Gigs page within Nokia Music that uses your location to help you find local live performances. You can even purchase tickets through various services, such as Songkick. Gigs can also be pinned to the Start screen or shared with your social networks and friends.
I realize this is the first release here in the US and the service is free, but I do have a couple of features I would like to see added. I like that my Zune Pass music service shows the album art of the last artist I was listening to on my Live Tile as it adds a bit of personalization and character to my Start screen. I want Nokia to add this type of Live Tile functionality as well since right now all I see is a musical note.
The Bing Music Search works well for identifying songs and letting me download from the Zune Marketplace, but I would like to see the option to choose the Nokia Music store as well. Android has support for multiple media providers like this and with the deep Microsoft and Nokia partnership I hope we see more integration of Nokia services in the Windows Phone experience.
Do you have other recommended improvements for the service?
Windows 8 will be shipping around October this year if a hint dropped to Pocket-lint from Windows Business Group director of PR Janelle Poole eventuates. The radically redesigned OS, which Steve Ballmer has referred to as Microsoft’s biggest gamble in recent times, had been rumored to ship early. Heavily criticized for failing to deliver a tablet OS to take on Apple’s iPad, Microsoft is betting that by developing its full Windows platform around a touch-based paradigm that it will attract users who want a ‘full’ desktop experience on a tablet.
“We haven’t talked about the release date and we generally don’t.,” said Poole. “We are talking milestone to milestone, so for us right now we’re talking about the next milestone being the consumer preview happening in late February.
“One of the things that I think is a good guideline though is we’ve always said that Windows releases come round about every three years and this year will be three years in October since we launched Windows 7. So I think that’s a good guideline to consider.”
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At least one or two vendors, including Acer, have mentioned that they expect to be launching Windows 8-based tablets later this year. These will be joined with next wave of ultra books with touch-based interfaces that aim to offer users the best of tablets and notebooks.
How to Prolong Lithium-based Batteries
What Causes Lithium-ion to Age?
The lithium-ion battery works on ion movement between the positive and negative electrodes. In theory, such a mechanism should work forever, but shelf life, cycling and temperature affect the performance. Because batteries are used under many demanding environmental conditions, manufacturers take a conservative approach and specify a battery life between 300 and 500 discharge/charge cycles. Life cycle testing is easy to measure and is well understood by the user. Some organizations also add a date stamp of three to five years; however, this method is less reliable because it does not include the type of use.
Figure 1 illustrates the capacity drop of 11 Li-polymer laptop batteries that have been cycled at a Cadex laboratory. The 1500mAh pouch cells were first charged to 4.20V/cell at 1C rate (1500mA) and allowed to saturate to 0.05C (75mA) as part of full charge procedure. The batteries were then discharged at 1500mA to 3.0V/cell, and the cycle was repeated.
Figure 1: Capacity drop as part of cycling. A pool of new 1500mA Li-ionbatteries for smart phone istested on a Cadex C7400 battery analyzer. All 11 pouch packs show a starting capacity of 88–94 percent and decrease in capacity to 73–84 percent after 250 full discharge cycles (2010).
Courtesy of Cadex
Designed for a smart phone, the packs were already a few months old at time of testing and none of the batteries made it to 100 percent. It is common to see lower than specified capacities and shelf life may have contributed to this. Manufacturers tend to overrate their batteries; they know that very few customers would complain. In our test, the expected capacity loss was uniform over the 250 cycles. All sample batteries performed as expected.
Similar to a mechanical device that wears out faster with heavy use, so also does the depth of discharge (DoD) determine the cycle count. The smaller the depth of discharge, the longer the battery will last. If at all possible, avoid frequent full discharges and charge more often between uses. If full discharges cannot be avoided, try utilizing a larger battery. Partial discharge on Li-ion is fine; there is no memory and the battery does not need periodic full discharge cycles other than to calibrate the fuel gauge on a smart battery.
Table 2 compares the number of discharge/charge cycles a battery can deliver at various DoD levels before lithium-ion is worn out. We assume end of life when the battery capacity drops to 70 percent. This is an arbitrary threshold that is application based.
Depth of discharge
|Table 2: Cycle life and depth of discharge
A partial discharge reduces stress and prolongs battery life. Elevated temperature and high currents also affect cycle life.
Specifying battery life by the number of discharge cycles is not complete by itself; equally if not more important are temperature conditions and charging voltages. Lithium-ion suffers stress when exposed to heat and kept at a high charge voltage.
Elevated temperature is anything that dwells above 30°C (86°F), and a high voltage is higher than 4.10V/cell. When estimating longevity, these conditions are difficult to assess because the battery state is in constant flux, and so is the temperature in which it operates. Exposing the battery to high temperature and being at full state-of-charge for an extended time can be more damaging than cycling. Manufacturers do not like to talk about these environmental conditions and release information only in confidence when so requested.
In this essay we do not depend on the manufacturer’s specifications alone but also listen to the comments of users. BatteryUniversity.com is an excellent sounding board to connect with the public and learn about reality. This approach might be unscientific, but it is genuine. When the critical mass speaks, the manufacturers listen. The voice of the multitude is in some ways stronger than laboratory tests performed in sheltered environments.
Let’s look at real-life situations and examine what stress a lithium-ion battery encounters. Most packs last three to five years, less if exposed to high heat and if kept at a full charge. Table 3 illustrates capacity loss as a function of temperature and state-of-charge. One can clearly see a performance drop of recoverable capacity caused by environmental conditions and not cycling. The worst condition is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures, which is the case when running a laptop on the power grid. Under these circumstances the battery will typically last for about two years, whether cycled or not. The pack does not die suddenly but will produce decreasing runtimes as part of aging.
Permanent capacity loss when
Permanent capacity loss when
2% loss in 1 year; 98% remaining
4% loss in 1 year; 96% remaining
15% loss in 1 year; 85% remaining
25% loss in 1 year 75%; remaining
6% loss in 1 year; 94% remaining
20% loss in 1 year; 80% remaining
35% loss in 1 year; 65% remaining
40% loss in 3 months
Table 3: Permanent capacity loss of lithium‑ion as a function of temperature and charge level. High charge levels and elevated temperatures hasten permanent capacity loss. Newer designs may show improved results.
Batteries are also exposed to elevated temperature when charging with wireless chargers. The energy transfer from a charging mat to the portable device is 70 to 80 percent and the remaining 20 to 30 percent is lost mostly in heat. Placing a cellular phone on the heat generating charging mat stresses the battery more than if charged on a designated charger. We keep in mind that the mat will cool down once the HP 484170-001 battery is fully charged.
Equally stressful is leaving a laptop computer battery in a hot car, especially if exposed to the sun. When not in use, store the battery in a cool place. For long-term storage, manufacturers recommend a 40 percent charge. This allows for some self-discharge while still retaining sufficient charge to keep the protection circuit active. Finding the ideal state-of-charge is not easy; this would require a discharge unit with an appropriate cut-off. Users should not worry too much about the state-of-charge; a cool and dry place is more important.
The voltage level to which the cells are charged also plays a role in extending longevity. For safety reasons, most lithium-ion cannot exceed 4.20V/cell. While a higher voltage would boost capacity, over-voltage shortens service life. Figure 4 demonstrates the increased capacity but shorter cycle life if Li-ion were allowed to exceed the 4.20V/cell limit. At 4.35V, the capacity would increase by 10 to 15 percent, but the cycle count would be cut in half. More critical than the extra capacity is reduced safety, which would be the results of a higher charge voltage.
Figure 4: Effects on cycle life at elevated charge voltages
Higher charge voltages boost capacity but lower cycle life and compromise safety.
Source: Choi et al. (2002)
Chargers for cellular phones, laptops and digital cameras bring the Li-ion battery to 4.20V/cell. This allows maximum runtime, and the consumer wants nothing less than optimal use of the battery capacity. The industry, on the other hand, is more concerned with longevity and prefers lower voltage thresholds. Satellites and electric vehicles are examples where longevity is important.
We have limited battery information by how much lower charge voltages prolong battery life; this depends on many conditions, as we have learned. What we do know, however, is the capacities. At a charge to 4.10V/cell, the battery holds a capacity that is about 10 percent less than going all the way to 4.20V/cell. In terms of optimal longevity, a charge voltage limit of 3.92V/cell works best but the capacity would be low. Besides selecting the best-suited voltage thresholds, it is also important that the battery does not stay in the high-voltage stage for a long time and is allowed to drop after full charge has been reached.
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The voltage threshold of commercial chargers cannot be changed, and making it adjustable would have advantages, especially for laptops as a means of prolonging battery life. When running on extended AC mode, the user would select the “long life” mode and the battery would charge to only, say, 4.05V/cell. This would get a capacity of about 80 percent. Before traveling the user would apply the “full charge mode” to bring the charge to 4.20V/cell. This saturation charge would take about an hour and would fill the battery to 100 percent capacity.
Realizing the stress on the battery, some laptop and cellular phone manufacturers choose an end-of-charge voltage that is less than 4.20V/cell. A slightly larger laptop battery pack compensates for the reduced runtime. Another option to extend battery life is removing the pack from the laptop when running on the power grid. The Consumer Product Safety Commissionadvises the public to do this out of concern for overheating and causing a fire. Removing the battery has the disadvantage of losing unsaved work on power failure.
Heat buildup is always a concern and running a laptop in bed or on a pillow may contribute to this by restricting airflow. Not only will heat stress electronic components, elevated temperature causes the electrodes in the battery to react with the electrolyte and this will permanently lower the capacity. Placing a ruler or other object under the laptop to increase floor clearance improves air circulation around the enclosure and keeps the unit cooler.
The question is often asked: Should I disconnect my laptop from the power grid when not in use? Under normal circumstances this should not be necessary because once the lithium-ion battery is full, a correctly functioning charger will discontinue the charge and will only engage when the battery voltage drops to a low level. Most users do not remove the AC power, and I like to believe that this practice is safe.
Everyone wants to keep the battery as long as possible and use it in a way that is least stressful. This is not always feasible. Sometimes we need to run the battery in environments that are not conducive to optimal service life. As a doctor cannot predict how long a person will live based on diet and activity alone, so also does the life of a battery vary, and it can always be cut short by an unexpected failure. Batteries and humans share the same volatility.
To get a better understanding of what causes irreversible capacity loss in Li-ion batteries, several research laboratories* are performing forensic tests. Scientist dissected failed batteries to find suspected problem areas on the electrodes. Examining an unrolled 1.5-meter-long strip (5 feet) of metal tape coated with oxide reveals that the finely structured nanomaterials have coarsened. Further studies revealed that the lithium ions responsible to shuttle electric charge between the electrodes had diminished on the cathode and had permanently settled on the anode. This results in the cathode having a lower lithium concentration than a new example, a phenomenon that is irreversible. Knowing the reason for such capacity loss might enable battery manufacturers to produce future batteries with longer life spans.
Power loss through Protection Circuit
Besides common aging, a Li-ion Acer Aspire 5520 Battery can also fail because of undercharge. This occurs if a Li-ion pack is stored in a discharged condition. Self-discharge gradually lowers the voltage of the already discharged battery and the protection circuit cuts off between 2.20 and 2.90V/cell. Some chargers and battery analyzers (including those from Cadex) provide a wake-up feature, or “boost,” to re-energize and recharge these seemingly dead Li-ion batteries.
* Research is performed by the Center for Automotive Research at the Ohio State University in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards Technology.
Summary: Apple New iPad‘s most revolutionary feature is its battery
The iPad’s most revolutionary feature isn’t the 2048×1536 Retina display LCD panel, or the 4G LTE connectivity. It’s something that you can’t see.
It’s the power battery.
Apple’s put a lot of cool, but power-hungry technology into the new iPad. That Retina display screen, the quad-core graphics processor and the LTE modem all put pressure on the battery, yet Apple has managed to keep the iPad’s battery life at 10 hours.
How has Apple managed this?
While Apple has undoubted put more power efficient technology into its next-generation iPad — for example, dropping the processor architecture down from 40nm to 28 nm would have resulted in quite a significant power saving — the more dramatic improvement has been the Apple a1185 battery itself.
Between the release of the iPad 2 last year and the announcement of the new iPad yesterday, Apple has nearly doubled the capacity of the HP elitebook 2730p extended life battery, taking it from 25Wh to a massive 42Wh. Measured in milliamps this boosts the battery from 6944 mAh to a monstrous 11,666 mAh.
And it’s clear that Apple had no choice if it wanted the new iPad to be the device that it is. Even with this massive bump in battery capacity, the device is still only rated as having a 10-hour battery life. Without this boost to the battery, the old power cells would have been lucky to keep the new iPad going for 6 hours. It’s clear that Apple isn’t interested in getting into a numbers war over battery life, but instead wants to add new features incrementally while keeping battery life at that 10-hour mark.
The obvious way to boost the battery’s capacity would be to double the battery size, but given that the new iPad is only fractionally thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, it’s highly unlikely that the battery is significantly bigger than the one in the iPad 2.
There’s another issue with adding a bigger battery, and it’s all down to weight distribution. You might not have noticed by the weight of the iPad is perfectly balanced in order to make holding the tablet as comfortable as possible.
Big battery cells not only add weight, but also require careful engineering to make sure they don’t unbalance the device. Keeping the cells as small as possible and in the center of the device makes engineering the rest of the device easier.
All this points to something very significant. It suggests that Apple has managed to increase significantly the power density of the Li-ion laptop battery cells that it uses. In an industry that has seemed stagnant for some time now, this is quite an achievement and goes to show that Apple’s battery research labs and manufacturing plants have been hard at work. There’s no doubt that we’re going to be seeing the fruits of this labor in other Apple products soon.
However, Apple has pulled off this huge increase in battery capacity (I’m looking forward to the teardowns of the new iPad), it undoubtedly changes everything… again.
Best iPhone 4 apps list are quite many. If you look around the web, you will find many such lists. If you are intent on filling up your iPhone with loads of great apps, then you can definitely begin here. Here’s a cool list of top 10 most popular and must have iPhone 4 apps which would help you improve your productivity and give you loads of other options too. Most of the below apps are available to download on Apple App Store for free.
Facebook iPhone App
This would top the charts almost everywhere! Talk about social networking and Facebook comes to your mind always. The free Facebook Mobile app for iPhone 4 is a must-have if you need to stay in touch with friends and family through the social networking giant.
The reason DropBox is a hot favorite amongst a lot of people – both professionals and students – is the awesome interface. If you are quite specific about the security and backup of your files, DropBox is the best option. The fact that it has an iPhone app makes it even more impressive. With a free account, you get up to 2 GB of storage and backup.
Run, jog, walk a lot? Want to keep track of your workout? Great! Nike-sponsored RunKeeper is an awesome app just to do this. As with most apps that come from great batteries companies, the RunKeeper app provides a wonderful, neat, simple and elegant interface. The app comes as a Free download. It also features GPS tracking.
Skype is not just great software – it is the software to turn to, to make calls, video calls, send smses and do much more. Most businesses depend on Skype. And an iPhone app for Skype is a boon for most of us. You can connect to a lot of friends, make video calls for free, and by adding credit you can also make international calls through Skype for cheaper rates. The app is a definite must-have.
IMDb iPhone App
An app to satisfy all your movie and entertainment needs. New releases, blockbusters, films you can watch now, old films that you forgot about, and much more. This app is almost full-featured – has everything that the normal website offers and comes with all the information, search and feature capabilities.
Camera+ iPhone App:
If you thought the iPhone camera app was insufficient, this would do the trick. The Camera+ is great if you need better image stabilization, great zooming features and also, add to all of this, a clear way to capture fast-moving objects in good detail and clarity without blur. The app is available for $0.99 for a limited period so grab it right away!
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Li-ion, 4400 mAh, 11.1 V
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Photoshop Express iPhone Apps
Straight from Adobe, all your basic photo editing needs answered! Photoshop Express does not come with all the bells and whistles of Adobe Photoshop, but it sure lets you do quite a lot of things like remove noise, colorize, straighten images, and of course, share the pictures easily. Free app.
Hopstop iPhone App
Hopstop is one of those special apps dedicated for those who get lost traveling! Well, not exactly, we were kidding. Hopstop lets you find routes easily, through its Maps. There are plenty of other features too, like taxi cost for the distance, time it would take to reach your destination, information about nearby services, and plenty more. This app too comes for Free.
The best money manager you could ever have on the iPhone. Keep a record of transactions, accounts, budget calculations and much more easily with this Free app. You can manage your money from anywhere and comes with tracking for investments and even tax deduction too.
Springpad iPhone App
If at all there is something that improves your productivity by leaps and bounds, it would be Springpad for the iPhone. Keep a track of everything that you have to do, keep a track of todo lists, and improve the way you go about your day. This is also a free app which features photo uploads, or an audio memo, and even comes with a barcode scanner!! So much for a simple productivity app.
Reducing battery consumption as much as possible on the iPad not only extends the time between charges but also extends the overall life of your iPad battery. Here are few suggestions:
Dim the Screen. The touch screen drains lots of battery power, so dimming it reduces that power. On the Home screen, tap Settings, tap Brightness & Wallpaper, and then drag the slider to the left to dim the screen.
Cycle the Battery. All lithium-based batteries slowly lose their charging capacity over time. If you can run your iPad on batteries for 8 hours today, later on you’ll be able to run it for only 6 hours on a full charge. You can’t stop this process, but you can delay it significantly by periodically cycling the iPad battery. Cycling – also called reconditioning or recalibrating – a battery means letting it completely discharge and then fully recharging it again. To maintain optimal performance, you should cycle your iPad’s battery every one or two months.
Slow The Auto-Check on Your E-Mail. Having your e-mail poll the server for new messages eats up your battery. Don’t set it to check every 15 minutes. If possible. Ideally, set it to Manual check if you can.
Turn Off Push. If you have MobileMe account, consider turning off the push feature to save iPad battery power. Tap Settings, tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and then tap Fetch New Data. In the Fetch Data screen, tap the Push setting to Off and tap Manually in the Fetch section.
Paradoxically, the less you use your iPad, the more often you should cycle its battery. If you often go several days or even a week or two without using your iPad (I can’t imagine!), you should cycle its battery at least once a month.
Minimize Your Tasks. If you won’t be able to charge your iPad for while, avoid background chores such as playing music or secondary chores such as organizing your contacts. If your only goal is to read all your e-mail, stick to that until it’s done because you don’t know how much time you have.
Put Your iPad Into Sleep Mode by Hand, If Necessary. If you’re interrupted – for example, the pizza delivery guy shows up on time – don’t wait for your iPad to put itself to sleep because those few minutes use up precious iPad battery time. Instead, put your iPad to sleep manually right away by pressing the Sleep/Wake button.
Avoid Temperature Extremes. Exposing your iPad to extremely hot or cold temperatures reduces the long-term effectiveness of the Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery. Try to keep your iPad within a reasonable range of temperatures.
Turn Off Wi-Fi If You Don’t Need It. When Wi-Fi is on, it regularly checks for available wireless networks, which drains the battery. If you don’t need to connect to a wireless network, turn off Wi-Fi to conserve energy. Tap Settings, tap Wi-Fi, and then tap the Wi-Fi Setting to Off.
Turn Off GPS If You Don’t Need It. When GPS is on, the receiver exchanges data with the GPS system regularly, which uses up Dell CF623 Laptop Battery power. If you have a Wi-Fi + 3G version of the iPad and you don’t need the GPS feature for the time being, turn off the GPS antenna. Tap Settings, tap General, and then tap the Location Services setting to Off.
Turn Off Bluetooth If You Don’t Need It. When Bluetooth is running, it constantly checks for nearby Bluetooth devices, which drains the battery. If you aren’t using any Bluetooth devices, turn off Bluetooth to save energy. Tap Settings, tap General, tap Bluetooth, and then tap the Bluetooth setting to Off.
If you don’t need all three of your iPad’s antennas for a while, a faster way to turn them off is to switch your iPad to Airplane mode. Tap Settings, and then tap the Airplane Mode switch to the On position.
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Sending Your iPad in for Repairs
To get your iPad repaired, you could take your device to an Apple store or send it in. Visit www.apple.com/support and follow the prompts to find out how to send your iPad in for repairs. Remember that the memory comes back wiped, so be sure to sync with iTunes, if you can. Also, don’t forget to remove your SIM card before you send it in.