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Fuel Cells On The Road, Again

Toshiba said last week at Japan's CEATEC show that it would begin incorporating fuel cells into some mobile products, including cell phones and laptops. Maxell also demonstrated a prototype at the trade show.
Toshiba said last week at Japan's CEATEC show that it would begin incorporating fuel cells into some mobile products, including cell phones and laptops. Maxell also demonstrated a prototype at the trade show.While the announcements got some press, neither was hardly a barn burner. Perhaps that's because the oh-so-green fuel cell market has been littered with lots of false starts and stops over the past three years.

Even those that do make it to market have done so with relative quiet. They include Medis Technologies' Medis 24/7 Fuel Cell Power Pack, which is now sold through Best Buy. It, too, has gotten some press attention, but not as much as you might think, given the potential for such a product. The Medis 24/7 Fuel Cell provides portable power to a variety of handheld devices such as cell phones, smartphones, MP3 Players, GPS systems, and handheld gaming devices. The 24/7 provides portable power by converting the chemical energy of a fuel into electrical energy.

Also, Medis said that a new Medis 24/7 Xtreme Charger, with replaceable fuel cell for iPhones and BlackBerry products, would be available in time for the Christmas retail season.

Another quiet contender in the fuel cell market is PolyFuel, which introduced a prototype power supply for notebook-class computers that can "provide continuous nonstop runtimes with the simple hot swap of small cartridges of methanol fuel." No word yet on what OEMs have expressed an interest in the unit, which is about the size of a deck of cards.

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
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