Tech Notes
Trends in Technology

By J. Anthony Vittal

Power for the Road Warrior
You’re on the road again, equipped to conduct ongoing business for the office, present a CLE program with computerized slide presentation, and attend meetings, with a traveling office strapped to your back. Notebook computer with wireless network (WiFi) adapter card, AC power supply with transformer brick, and two onboard batteries to help feed the gluttonous craving for power of the WiFi card when running off the power grid and to power your notebook while flying to and from your destinations. Cellular telephone with AC charger. Wireless PDA with AC charger. Collectively heavy and bulky. By the time you arrive home, you feel as if you have trekked across the Southwest as a rented mule instead of a tech-savvy lawyer. New technology, however, offers you helpful solutions to lighten or redistribute your load.

Portable Power Sources
With the advent of lithium ion polymer battery technology, affording relatively lightweight thin-cell power sources, our devices no longer need to be tied to power cords to operate beyond the capacity of their onboard batteries.

 Electrovaya, Inc. (, is a Toronto-based manufacturer and marketer of advanced, high-energy, rechargeable batteries based on its patented lithium ion SuperPolymer™ technology. This technology provides the highest lithium ion polymer storage capacity in the industry, at 470 Watt/hours per liter. Electrovaya has applied this technology to several product lines, including its line of PowerPad external notebook batteries. The most powerful of them, the PowerPad 160 (MSRP $479.00), provides up to 160 Watt/hours of power, at 15–20 Volts, in a 3/8" thin package slightly larger than a sheet of letterhead, weighing just 2.4 pounds. This translates to 12–16 hours of additional run time for your notebook computer. The PowerPad 160 will recharge to 80% of capacity in four hours, with another hour needed to fully recharge. Imagine being able to work without interruption, with no power cord, for a transoceanic flight, or a day at the beach!

 The only disadvantage to the PowerPads is their limitation to powering notebook computers. If you want to run your notebook computer and simultaneously provide auxiliary power to a handheld device like a mobile phone, Valence Technology, Inc. (, headquartered in Austin, Texas, offers its N-Charge™ Power System devices, also using lithium ion polymer battery technology. The Valence VNC-130 (MSRP $299.00) provides up to 130 Watt/hours of power in a half-inch thick package measuring 9.06 x 11.81 inches, weighing 3 pounds and offering up to 10 hours of additional run time for your notebook computer. The N-Charge™ devices also provide a low-power DC output, at 5-12 Volts, enabling you to simultaneously recharge or power a handheld device such as a mobile phone.

Over time, as costs come down, we are likely to see lithium ion polymer battery technology incorporated directly into our equipment. Until then, these auxiliary power devices offer the best solution to our need for additional unconnected run time.

Universal Power Supply
 Mobility Electronics, Inc., has developed the iGo® line of universal power supplies to enable you to leave your multiple device chargers behind when you are on the road. While the iGo® Ice (AC only) and PowerXtender (DC only for autos and commercial aircraft) devices have their uses, the most versatile is the iGo® Juice combination AC and auto/air power adapter. Weighing less than half a pound, the iGo® Juice can draw power from an AC wall plug, an automobile cigarette lighter or auxiliary power outlet, or the power outlet at your seat on a plane, to generate up to 70 watts of continuous power output to simultaneously power your notebook computer and, using a separate Peripheral Powering System (PPS) cable, charge a handheld device such as a PDA or mobile phone. Using interchangeable tips on its notebook input cord, the iGo® Juice (MSRP $119.99) comes with an interface for the optional PPS cables, an Auto/Air connection cord, a standard wall outlet power cord, and a carrying case, and will interface with most notebook computers. The PPS cables (MSRP $29.99) are unique to each handheld device you wish to charge, necessitating one for each device. If you don’t need auxiliary battery power, this solution will at least lighten your load.

J. Anthony Vittal ( is the General Counsel of Credit.Com, Inc., and Identity Theft 911, LLC, in San Francisco, California. A former member of the ABA Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems and a member of various technology-oriented committees of ABA Sections, he speaks and writes frequently on legal technology topics.

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