Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Want to Take My Electronics Everywhere

Portability is one of the greatest problems that electronic manufactures have to overcome.

Question: So what makes electronics portable?
Answer: Well first the products size needs to be small and compact or as some of us like to say, “sleek and sexy” and second the device can’t be plugged in to the wall all the time. The challenge of portability has historically been a cost driver in the price of electronics; but the fact is people are willing to pay top dollar for ultra thin electronics such as the Apple MacBook Air or the Motorola Q.

Question: Why did it take so long to make these products so portable? How can they become more portable?
Answer: As it turns out the battery is the largest barrier to ultra portability. The compact size (volume) and high energy charge is referred to by the industry as charge density (typically measured in coulombs per cubic meter). The general charge is measured by the amount of current the battery can supply during 1 hour of operation (milliamp hour). Engineers have been innovating in leaps and bounds as they try to make battery powered cars and portable computers; we consumers are placing a high demand on the need of portable electronics.

Everyone needs to do their part:

- Battery manufacturers are increasing the charge density by finding new chemical and packaging processes. Lithium polymer cells have the largest charge density, while lithium ion cells have proven to be manufactured at low costs to the consumer.

- Semiconductor manufacturers are paying close attention to the little details such as the low-power consumption feature of the new Intel Atom chip. Chip makers are constantly making processors and power supply circuits more efficient such as the switching voltage regulator vs. a linear regulator could increase the efficiency to over 90%.

- It is important to remember that as the world changes technologically we don’t forget about the environment so please find a place to recycle your old/outdated rechargeable batteries.

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