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Fuel Cell Powered Zodiac Demonstrated
Fuel cells pequeno, overall package obeso
Does this fuel cell backpack make my butt look big?
MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. announced its new Mobion fuel cell technology yesterday and the Tapwave Zodiac, while unmentioned, was featured prominently in the photos.

MTI's press release touts their patented fuel cell technology as offering from 2-10x the amount of power duration as an equivalent-sized battery pack, and the fuel cells do, indeed, look quite tiny.  However, in order to make use of these new-fangled batteries, you need something capable of utilizing them.  The modified Zodiac featured in their photos had an awfully large appendage built onto the back.  It sounds like they're still in the prototype phase, at least where their consumer electronics hopes are concerned.  They'll need to get that size down quite a bit before these can be considered as a serious option.  It doesn't matter how tiny the batteries are if the overall solution adds significant size to a device.

Left unmentioned were more hard data about battery life (2-10x sounds awfully vague), as well as the issue of price, though they did indicate that they were working with Gilette/Duracell, presumably to offer off-the-shelf fuel cell packs.

So does this prototype device hint at a next-generation fuel-cell powered Zodiac?  I sure hope not.  If Tapwave was to add significant girth to the present Zodiac design, I'd personally prefer that they used that extra space for more interesting enhancements, like a 4GB Microdrive.

Personally, I can't help but wonder just how needed this sort of technology is when it comes to portable consumer electronic devices.  Users have largely adjusted to a lifestyle of charging their devices on a semi-regular basis.  So long as the built-in rechargable battery can last a full day between charges, will people really want to go back to the days of shelling out money for a new pack of batteries, even if they last for a month?
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