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Thursday, April 07, 2005
New, cheap battery outshines alkalines

Panasonic will introduce AA and AAA disposable batteries in June that the company calls the "most significant developments in primary battery technology in 40 years."

According to Panasonic, these Oxyride batteries last up to twice as long as premium alkaline batteries like Duracell Ultra ($5 for four), yet cost the same as regular alkalines ($4 for four).

Astounded yet? Then get this: Oxyride batteries are also supposed to deliver more power. The result, the company says, is that battery-operated toothbrushes spin faster, flashlights shine brighter, camera flashes are quicker to recharge and music players produce richer sound.

Play your cards right, in other words, and these batteries might just clean out your gutters, wash the car and do your taxes.

Panasonic Oxyride batteriesThose are pretty fantastic claims, but Panasonic is certainly right about one thing: The time is right for some technical improvement in batteries. Technology has marched on in just about every other corner of modern life, but people still tiptoe nervously through birthday parties and weddings with their digital cameras, anxiously rationing shots so they'll have juice left for the big moment.

No wonder, then, that in Japan, the Oxyride batteries have captured 10 percent of the battery market in the one year they've been available. In fact, Panasonic predicts that Oxyride will eventually wipe out alkalines just the way alkalines blew regular "heavy-duty" batteries off the map.

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