Gadgets: A fuel cell for phones runs on butane power

  • Updated: January 19, 2013 - 4:12 PM
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In an undated handout photo, Kingston Digital's DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 flash drive. The new flash drive can hold a terabyte of data, making it the largest on the market. (Handout via The New York Times)

Photo: Handout, New York Times

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Nectar Mobile Power System,

www.brookstone.com

Backup batteries for phones and tablets have become smaller and more powerful, with some offering about 2 1/2 charges in a package a little larger than two packs of playing cards. The makers of a new fuel cell demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas say it has them beat by a factor of five.

The Nectar Mobile Power System is a fuel cell powered by a butane cartridge. It is roughly the size of a small but thick paperback book.

According to Nectar, it carries 10 to 14 full charges for a phone or tablet. The company is calling that two weeks of power, based on one recharge a day.

The unit is fairly lightweight and does not produce much heat. While charging a phone, the case did not feel much warmer than room temperature -- far cooler than the average laptop battery while in use.

Although the charger is powered by butane, you cannot pump it full of lighter fluid to recharge. The butane comes in "Nectar Pods," small reservoirs that are approved to be carried on aircraft and can be tossed in the recycling bin when empty.

Nectar will be available at Brookstone stores this summer at a wallet-lightening price of $300. Refill pods will be $10 each.

A TERABYTE OF DATA,

IN A POCKET-SIZE DRIVE

DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0, www.kingston.com

Kingston Digital, a company that makes flash drives, was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas promoting a new flash drive that can hold a terabyte of data.

The drive easily would be the largest on the market in terms of storage capacity. Physically it is compact, a little larger than a cigarette lighter, with a brushed-aluminum finish.

Called the DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0, it will connect to a computer port using USB 3.0, as its name implies.

The company said the new drive was the fastest USB 3.0 flash drive it made, working at up to 240 megabytes per second read and 160 megabytes per second write. It also has a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 certification.

The drive is expected to be on sale in the first quarter of the year. The price has not been announced, but the 512-gigabyte version of the drive, which has half the capacity, is available now for $1,750.

NEW YORK TIMES

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