[CEATEC] Toshiba to Release Fuel Cell-powered Mobile Devices by March 2009

Oct 1, 2008
Yuta Togashi, Nikkei Electronics
The W55T equipped with a fuel cell
The W55T equipped with a fuel cell
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A methanol cartridge with a capacity of 50ml
A methanol cartridge with a capacity of 50ml
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Comparison of remaining battery levels during a phone call
Comparison of remaining battery levels during a phone call
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Toshiba Corp will release mobile devices incorporating direct methanol fuel cells by the end of fiscal 2008 (March 2009), said a person in charge of the company's booth at CEATEC JAPAN 2008.

Although Toshiba had presented the prototype at various exhibitions and on other occasions, it was the first time that the company has unveiled the actual schedule for release. Its mobile phone equipped with a fuel cell is on display at CEATEC.

The prototype exhibited this time is based on an au-branded handset, the W55T, and it used a direct methanol fuel cell. The methanol fuel is charged with a dedicated cartridge.

The phone can be driven while a built-in Li-ion secondary battery is being recharged from the fuel cell. Thus, once the cartridge is filled with the fuel, the battery life will be approximately doubled compared with the case of using only the secondary battery, the company said.

The cartridge can store 50ml of 99.5% methanol, which is enough to charge the mobile phone about 10 times. The cartridge is initially priced at several hundred yen per unit, but Toshiba is aiming to reduce the price to about ¥100 (approx US$0.94) eventually.

The company intends to incorporate fuel cells into digital cameras, laptops, etc. The company will use a single type of cartridge to charge various kinds of products equipped with the fuel cell.