Mobile computing gets battery-life boost

I recently had the opportunity of attending an Acer press event in Dubai where the company hosted its Middle East launch of its latest Aspire Timeline notebook series which apparently has an eight-hour battery life.
Mobile computing gets battery-life boost
By Gareth Van Zyl
Tue 26 May 2009 01:46 PM

Acer has been highly successful in taking up a large segment of the mobile computing market globally. But one thing that was mentioned at this press event that might pique end-users’ interest is that Acer is saying their latest notebook range has an eight hour battery life.

Now, the WINDOWS team hasn’t had the opportunity to test these notebooks yet, but if notebooks or netbooks have one major weakness, it’s their battery life.

In a press release, Acer describes its latest Aspire Timeline notebook series as follows:

“The Aspire Timeline series have been specifically designed for longer battery life, not by using a bulkier and heavier battery, but redesigning the way power is used, making the system more efficient, lighter and less harmful to the environment and more than capable to give you the bliss of more than eight hours of battery life on a single charge…The Aspire Timeline notebooks come with the Acer Smart Power key, the gateway to power on-demand. The Acer Smart Power key gives you the power to decide how long the battery will last: just press the Smart Power key to boost power saving capabilities and extend your freedom. Acer Smart power expands battery life through advanced settings and takes a series of actions to reduce power consumption.”

Acer is obviously not the only company looking to extend mobile computing battery life. Hewlett Packard earlier this year claimed that they have been working on a netbook that has an eight hour battery life.

So, the question then is - why is it that smaller sized computing devices have such poor battery life in the first place? Well, in a recent comment piece concerning netbooks by WINDOWS Senior Technical Editor Jason Saundalkar, he succinctly explains this issue as follows:

“Netbooks might seem like the best buy on the mobile PC market because of their compact dimensions and negligible weight but don’t forget to consider battery performance. You see, a small frame means smaller internal components and this includes the machine’s battery. And, the smaller the battery, the less ‘juice’ it can hold; so, factor this into your buying decision. Ultimately, don’t look at a netbook as a fully-fledged replacement to a portable or ultra-portable machine because they were never built to take on that role.”

So, it seems that for the immediate future, battery life will continue to be the Holy Grail for netbook manufacturers. At least manufacturers are well aware of this issue but if you’re already a notebook or netbook owner, you’ll have to remember to carry your battery charger with you for now.

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