Boston-Power says its new battery for laptops comes with three distinct advantages over conventional ones: It recharges in about half the time, it provides about the same amount of power, and it won't blow up.
The Sonata battery, which Hewlett-Packard has been tinkering with, can be charged to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes, CEO Christina Lampe-Onnerud says. Conventional notebook batteries take one to two hours to get to 90 percent capacity.
"We picked 30 minutes and drove development to that," she said. Lampe-Onnerud will show off the Sonata for the first time publicly during a presentation at Demo '07, taking place in Palm Desert this week.
The Sonata, she added, is also electrically and mechanically compatible with current notebook designs. Put it into a regular notebook and you'll get about the same amount of run time. (The Boston-Power battery is the blue one pictured here).
The company is part of a wave of battery start-ups that have emerged in recent years. A few years ago, if you said you worked at battery company, people thought you were the guy who filled up the Ray-o-Vac display at Walgreens. A few exploding laptops later, venture capitalists are throwing money at you.
There is no magic silver bullet inside the Sonata, Lampe-Onnerud said. Instead, the battery differs from conventional notebook batteries through a large number of design tweaks. "We understand the system. We don't have a killer chemical," she said.
The "can," or outside casing around the battery cells, is made from a metal alloy that is stronger than the iron cans used with notebook batteries and thus will remain intact in case of a thermal reaction, or fire, inside.