Batteries Can't Keep Up

New music gadgets proving the versatility and shortcomings of lithium technolgoy

Published: 11-Jan-2004

Lithium ion batteries, the battery type most commonly used inside laptops and the flashy gadgets that early adopters of new technology lug everywhere in their pockets, are the most lightweight, powerful and low-maintenance batteries around. They're even more environmentally friendly than other choices.

But they have one drawback: a limited lifespan. Lithium ion batteries are particularly susceptible to aging; as soon as one leaves the manufacturing line, its countdown begins. A typical lifespan is two to three years, whether it is ever used or not -- as some disgruntled owners of Apple Computer Corp.'s iPod found when their digital music players suddenly went dead. A huge hullabaloo ensued.

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