Back last fall I saw a prototype of a safe, long-lasting, environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery, built by Westborough, Mass., start-up Boston Power. Company founder Christina Lampe-Onnerud, who IEEE Spectrum tagged in its March issue as ''The Lady and the Li-On,'' called me this week with happy news. Hewlett-Packard was to announce today that it will be using Boston Power''s Sonata lithium-ion cells to power its HP Enviro Series notebook batteries.
These batteries will come with a three-year warranty, the longest battery warranty offered to date. Seems that H-P is convinced that the Sonata cells will indeed hold up longer than traditional designs, as Lampe-Onnerud told Spectrum last year. However, H-P''s promotion for these batteries will be playing up the green angle more than the performance.
Lampe-Onnerud is thrilled. ''Our company is only three years old,'' she says, and ''H-P is number one in the laptop marketplace. It''s such a lovely way for us to end 2008.''
H-P will be shipping the new battery packs early next year, as replacement batteries only, not built into new laptops. ''That was the way to get into consumers'' hands as soon as possible,'' Lampe-Onnerud says.
For Boston-Power, this may work out just fine. You''d have to think that in the current economy, people are going to be hanging onto older laptops longer instead of trading them in for new models, which means a bigger market for replacement batteries.
H-P has not announced pricing yet, but, says Lampe-Onnerud, she''s assured that it''s quite reasonable.
Caption: Boston-Power founder Christina Lampe-Onnerud