As I'm sure you have all experienced, some days it feels like laptops are only as portable as the nearest outlet. While most machines typically promise battery life of two to four hours, in actual practice the number always seems lower. The older the laptop gets (and the more often you choose to drain the battery), the less juice the battery seems to have. If you're not careful, you'll render the battery kaput altogether, which will force you to either purchase a new one or carry an AC adapter like your life depends on it. (Because, if nothing else, your laptop's does.)

Well, HP is hoping to change all that, or at least improve the situation. HP will be offering a new lithium-ion battery (termed Sonata battery) for some of its models in 2009. The batteries come from a company called Boston-Power, but they should be available to lend notebooks around the country (and world, I would imagine) a bit of extra oomph.

The numbers reported by HP and Boston-Power are pretty impressive. According to Boston-Power, the Sonata battery will last over four hours, will charge to 80 percent in 30 minutes, and will last 1,000 cycles (on and off) before losing life. On average, the Sonata battery would provide twice the length of time in one charge to a normal battery, and would last three times as long before losing life.

To get one of the Sonata batteries, you'll need to pay HP $20 to $30 extra with your laptop order. Once I have additional information on what models will be able to use the Sonata battery, I'll let you know. In the meantime, you can keep up with the latest from HP at www.hp.com.

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