By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sanyo introduced a low self-discharge rechargeable battery earlier this month at International CES that is ready to use right out of the package. Shipped fully charged from the factory, the battery combines the convenience of an alkaline cell with the re-usability of a rechargeable, said the company.
Marketed under the eneloop brand, the battery is a “complete product from cradle to grave,” said Paul Perryman, national sales manager for the consumer energy products division at San Diego-based Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.). The eneloop brand is a global name born in Japan that combines the words energy and loop.
Typical rechargeable nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) cells have to be charged after purchase prior to being used in consumer electronics products. If a consumer needs the batteries fast, the eneloop types are “convenient,” offer high performance in high drain products and hold their charge. The battery also can be recharged hundreds of times, said Sanyo.
Shelf life for the eneloop battery is 85 percent of capacity after a year of storage at 68 degrees and 70 percent after two years, said Sanyo. A typical rechargeable loses 1 percent per day, compared with the eneloop's 15 percent per year, said Sanyo. This “unprecedented” feature enables the rechargeable eneloop cell to be used in applications such as remote controls, flashlights, radios or any device where alkaline or heavy duty types meet the demand.
Sanyo has always been an environmentally concerned company, said Joe Carcone, VP at Sanyo. “This is a Japanese company that is socially responsible, pushing both technology as well as recycling. For example, the packaging is different, made of PET recyclable plastic. And this is the first product in an international launch that features products good for the earth, good for the earth's sustainability. So the recyclable battery closes the loop, so to speak, in the energy-loop name.”
The 2000 mAh eneloop battery is first being launched in Japan and will be available in the United States this summer. A four-pack of AA or AAA cells will have a suggested $12.99 retail, and an eight-pack $19.99. Two eneloop AA cells also will be sold with a small compact charger and two AA cells for $14.99.
Also new from GE/Sanyo this spring are 2700 mAh AA and 1000 mAh AAA rechargeable NiMH batteries useful for high-drain products such as digital cameras. Suggested retail for a four-pack of AA cells is $16.99, while a four-pack of AAA batteries is $15.99. New, too, this spring, is a tiny charger that will power up an AAA NiMH battery in any PC with a USB port. Charging time is about two hours. Suggested retail for the charger and two 1000 mAh cells is $16.
GE/Sanyo is offering a Bluetooth over-the-ear headset with up to 12 hours of talk time and up to 200 hours of standby time. The unit has first-quarter availability at a suggested $79.99, and offers redialing and voice dialing that can be activated directly from the headset.
Another Bluetooth product new from GE/Sanyo is a portable speakerphone that can be used in the home or car. It can be installed in a car visor in less than 10 seconds and offers a noise canceling microphone. It is powered by either two AA batteries or a charger, and has up to 10 hours of talk time and 10 days standby time. Suggested retail is $179.99, and availability is the first quarter.
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