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Building a Better Battery

Boot Camp feature for Monday, April 18, 2005

Building a better battery. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Panasonic is promising the first big improvement in disposable batteries in forty years. The company's new Oxyride batteries go on sale in June…the company claims…

"The Oxyride battery, to give you an idea of performance, is 50 percent longer lasting than alkaline batteries. And that can range from any type of device from an MP3 player to a digital camera to a remote control toy car."

Brian Kimberlin is director of marketing at Panasonic for the battery line. The company's claims are being backed up by some independent testing. PC World magazine reports that in its tests in a digital camera, it got 290 shots on a set of Oxyrides…compared with 131 using Duracell Ultra alkaline batteries. The price is about the same, four dollars for four. Kimberlin says there is a difference in the chemistry used…

"The chemistry that we have is called oxy-nickle hydroxide. And it's similar to alkaline, but basically we put some additional additives in, which creates this performance."

The batteries will be sold only in double A and triple A sizes. A couple of things to keep in mind…the performance differences can vary greatly depending upon the type of device the batteries are used in. And while longer lasting disposables are a step forward….rechargeable batteries are a better choice for digital cameras and many other devices even though you'll have to make more of an initial investment. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.