IDF - Intel-backed group looks to extend battery life

Facing greater power demands on laptops from technologies such as wireless networking, Intel has lined up a consortium of hardware makers to work on developing batteries, fuel cells and related technologies that offer longer battery life for mobile computers.

The group, called the Mobile PC Extended Battery Life Working Group, held its first meeting here on Wednesday to discuss organizational issues and its initial development priorities.

Alongside Intel, executives from Acer Inc., Asustek Computer Inc., Compal Electronics Inc., Dell Computer Corp., First InternationalComputer Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Inventec Corp., Legend Group Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Microsoft Corp., NEC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Quanta Computer Inc. and Wistron Corp. are working together to find ways to extend the life of laptop batteries up to eight hours or more on a single charge, according to a senior Intel executive.

"We have to expand the focus beyond the processor alone," said Anand Chandrasekher, vice president and co-general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group, in a speech to hardware makers at the Intel Developer Forum here on Tuesday.

"One of the challenges collectively for us as an industry is to extend battery life well beyond eight hours," Chandrasekher said. "It requires us to come together as an industry. The CPU (central processing unit) and the chipset account for only 30 percent of the power consumption of the (laptop) platform."

The first products resulting from the group's work are expected to hit the market in 2004, Chandrasekher said.

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