Sony to launch flat external batteries for phones, tablets using in-house tech

The electronics maker said it will use its own laminate technology in such batteries for the first time

Sony will launch a new line of small, flat, external batteries to provide extra juice for tablets and smartphones, the first such products to use its thin "laminate" technology, it said Monday.

The Tokyo-based electronics firm announced several models, including one with 7,000 mAh capacity, that it says provides about three full charges to a typical smartphone, at 2.1 amps when both of its USB ports are used. The battery weighs 198 grams and measures 130.6 millimeters by 70.4mm by 12.9mm, on a par with many smartphones.

"This thin type of battery is Sony's strength," said spokesman Jin Tomihari. "The smartphone market is growing, so the battery market is also growing accordingly."

The company is marketing the new batteries as having the same thin profile as modern phones and tablets, making the two easier to store together. Sony will also launch a slightly smaller model that holds 3,500mAh, as well as a colorful batch of smaller cylindrical 2000mAh batteries.

This is on par with modern smartphones: Apple's new iPhone 5 is said to have a 1440mAh battery, while Samsung's Galaxy S3 has a 2100mAh battery.

Sony is know mainly for its electronics, games and media holdings, but the company also has advanced battery technology, including for batteries in which the components are laminated together, cutting weight and materials as well as allowing a greater variety of forms.

The company announced the new batteries for the Japanese market, with the round type to go on sale from Oct. 13 and the flat variety from Nov. 14 in Japan, with prices ranging from 2,300 yen (US$30) to 7,000 yen depending on the capacity.

Global launch dates and prices will be around those for the Japanese market, Tomihari said.

Sony said the 3,500mAh version of its new line can be reused about 500 times, and can charge a typical smartphone in about 130 minutes. They can be recharged in about 8 hours by USB and 4 hours by electric socket.

Sony was an early adaptor of current rechargeable battery technology, and was the first to market with lithium-ion batteries in 1991.

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