Skip to main content
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Technology

Search for better phone power

By CNN's Phil O'Sullivan

story.methanol.jpg
Toshiba unveiled this tiny direct methanol fuel cell in June.
QUICKVOTE
Would you want television programming on your mobile phone if it was available?
Yes
No
VIEW RESULTS
SPARK
Find out how tech is changing our lives  Click here
ON CNNI TV
Click here  for Spark show times on CNN International.
YOUR SAY
Send your e-mails to spark@cnn.com or read what other viewers have to say
SPECIAL REPORT
• Find out how technology, science and invention are shaping your world with Explorersexternal link
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Technology (general)
Wireless Phones
Spark

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- A mobile phone is no longer just a phone -- it is also a music player, video camera and personal organizer.

And mobile phones with television programming are just around the corner.

But the more functions cell phone manufacturers add, the greater the amount of power the phones use and the less practical running them on lithium batteries becomes -- so the race to find a viable alternative is on.

Two of the world's biggest electronics makers, Hitachi and Toshiba, are currently competing against each other to come up with an alternative, most likely to be micro fuel cells.

The task has been set by Japan's second largest mobile phone provider, KDDI, which wants its customers to soon be able to use special television programming on their handsets, and has asked the two electronics companies to come up with a better power source.

Hitomi Murakami, of KDDI, says battery-operated mobile phones cannot keep up with the new applications.

"We're looking at various ways to expand content and services that we can provide to the people. And we don't want to have battery issues delaying us from doing that," he says.

Hitachi's Atsushi Morihara says it is a critical race for both of the companies as the resulting product will have a major impact on the mobile market in the future.

"We are in competition and it's up to both of us to come up with a good product. A product that will satisfy KDDI's needs. I think I can go as far to say that the winner will take all."

Miniaturized direct methanol fuel cells are different batteries in that they create power instead of simply storing it.

That power is made by new technology utilizing cheap methanol.

If all goes to plan, come 2007, Japanese phone users will not use an electric charger to power their mobiles, they will instead carry a small bottle of methanol and with just a few squirts, they will have power for their phones.

But the method has its downsides, including how passengers will be able to take small amounts of flammable methanol on airliners.

Negotiations are already underway with authorities to get around current restrictions.

Fumio Ueno of Toshiba says that once developed, the uses of miniaturized direct methanol fuel cells have endless possibilities.

"I think we will have new types of devices that do not exist now."

Illinois-based company Renew Power has said it has already come up with a fuel cell compatible with mobile phones, by using formic acid, the chemical sprayed by black ants on the attack.


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Burgers, lattes and CD burners
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
Search JobsMORE OPTIONS


 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.