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(Nikkei BP Group)



(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)


News from NET and COM '99
















  • Matsushita, Sony to Produce Lithium-Polymer Batteries
  • February 12, 1999 (TOKYO) — Matsushita Battery Industrial Co., Ltd. and Sony Corp. independently said that they will mass produce lithium-polymer secondary batteries.
    The new batteries will follow the current generation lithium-ion secondary batteries.

    When both of the companies mass produce the batteries it will promote the new generation of power sources for cellular phones.

    Lithium-polymer secondary batteries use a gel-formed electrolyte solution. Also, they utilize laminated film for sheathing to make them thinner than lithium-ion batteries with metal cases. The slim look of the new battery is a major advantage.

    Matsushita Battery started making 300,000 batteries a month in January. Sony will build up its monthly production capacity to 200,000 units by this summer. At that time, it will commence full-scale production, and it will raise the capacity to 1 million units a month within the year.

    Matsushita Communication Industrial Co., Ltd. reportedly will use the new products from Matsushita Battery for its cellular phones. When Matsushita Communication, Japan’s top maker of cellular phones, starts using the products other cellular phone makers will likely shift as well.

    Manufacturers of cellular phones want to adopt the lithium-polymer secondary batteries to make their products even lighter and thus more appealing to consumers.

    Yet there is a limit to reducing a cellular phone handset’s width and length. A certain size is required for ease of use. For this reason, the next step is slashing the thickness of handsets.

    Producers of cellular phones are determined to reduce the weight of the handsets when thinner batteries are available.

    The use of lithium-polymer secondary batteries is not limited to cellular phones. Larger capacities can be achieved by connecting unit cells, each of which constitutes a battery. The new lithium-polymer secondary batteries also can power mobile devices such as personal computers that require more electricity than mobile phones.

    Matsushita’s new batteries measure 35mm wide by 62mm long by 3.6mm thick, while the Sony units measure 35mm wide by 62mm long by 3.8mm. They are slightly more than 2mm thinner than the lithium-ion batteries now used for cellular phones, for an approximate 30 percent reduction in thickness.

    Related story: Competition Heats to Reduce Weight of Cellular Phones

    (Nikkei Electronics)



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