I am in possession of a PSP and a netbook. They are mobile, useful, and most of all, a perfect distraction when I'm utterly bored. However, like most gizmos dependent on Lithium-Ion batteries, their dwindling life-span is something I have to contend with. Yup, just like you do. A single charge used to last my netbook more than six hours. These days, that figure has dwindled down to three. I would love a non-degradable battery if I could, but alas, that's not possible with the present technology we have at hand.
Li-ion cells are known to be saint and sinner in one. A saint, for its superior open-circuit voltage, meaning you get more power with lesser currents, as well as their higher energy densities. A sinner, for their notorious life-cycles due to deposits formed in the electrolyte and degrading manganese cathodes over time. These aspects can seriously undermine the cell's long term efficiency. Then again, there appears to be good news on the horizon. Hitachi claimed they have developed a method to manufacture Li-ion batteries able to survive twice as long as present models. According to Hitachi, the new-fangled power packs can endure for 10 years before replacements are needed. Solution? They've somehow managed to make the manganese cathodes last longer than they should. Sadly, Hitachi also mentioned that they are only targeting large-scale industrial machines for now.
Whatever the case, I hope they'd be able to bring this new found technology to mobile devices soon. While electronic makers may develop power-efficient CPUs and less power-hungry displays, truth is, portable gaming consoles and netbooks still draw their power from a single source - a battery.
Andy Sim / Former Senior Tech Writer
Andy is a self-made geek with a penchant for good music and a hearty pint. His domain includes swanky TVs, notebooks and networking gizmos.