Battery life is a principle concern among laptop owners, particularly those who are more likely to travel with it. Whether the laptop costs $500 or $3000, once the battery runs dry they are all rendered worthless. And while many companies like Intel have been promising the 8-hour laptop for some time now, the reality of the situation is that most notebooks still have a fairly limited battery capacity. A few, very expensive laptops can get closer to that 8 hour goal, with some UMPCs even surpassing it depending on use, the restrictions of the Lithium-Ion design of modern batteries is a difficult obstacle to overcome.
It's encouraging then, to see companies actively pursuing new methods of storing power. While fuel cells are rumored to become the next big thing, another company has a more subtle approach. Zpower is preparing to demonstrate Silver-Zinc laptop batteries, using a technology they claim lasts a lot longer than existing designs. The first batch of these batteries will supposedly be manufactured within the next few months, and promise to increase battery capacity as much as 40%. That turns a two-hour run time into a three hour, or a five hour run time into a seven hour.
The battery technology also promises to cure woes of exploding batteries, due to its non-flammable nature. Further improvements include an increase in longevity, with the batteries not losing capacity in the first year of use. And while all this sounds good, very good, we'll believe it when we see it.