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Fuel Cell Powered Phones by 2007

KDDI Corp aims to develop mobile phones powered by a small fuel cell through separate tie-ups with Hitachi Ltd and Toshiba Corp, aiming to commercialize them in 2007, sources close to the matter said July 10.

Cell phones are becoming increasingly multifunctional, equipped with TV viewing and game playing capabilities, and the trend is forcing handsets to consume more power.

Currently available lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, however, last only about two hours if users continuously watch TV on their terminals. A handset powered by a fuel cell is expected to last more than twice as long, the sources said.

The planned fuel cell would extract hydrogen ions from methanol to generate power, meaning that no time would be required for recharging because simply replenishing its methanol supply would allow the battery to operate continuously.

The partners in both projects seek to develop prototype cell phones powered by a fuel cell by the end of fiscal 2005.

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