Unnamed industry sources are claiming that prismatic lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are receiving full support from Japan-based Panasonic, and Korea-based Samsung SDI and LG. These three companies are expected to start pushing standardized solutions in the second half of 2012.
As it stands now, the notebook industry typically uses 18650 cylindrical batteries for the traditional, mainstream model. Ultrabooks and tablets usually feature customized LIBs that are small in size and can't be removed from the host device, thus allowing these two form factors to be super thin.
But prismatic LIBs are cheaper and extremely lightweight. It's believed that once these batteries are designed to be removable and become more commonly used in the mobile sector, penetration of prismatic LIBs in the battery market will start rising in 2013. Eventually prismatic LIBs will become the third-largest battery standard in the industry.
Sources said that Panasonic, Samsung SDI and LG have decided to launch prismatic LIBs with a size of 60-mm x 80-mm, and a thickness of 5 to 8-mm. Even more, Acer and Asustek Computer have already decided to adopt prismatic LIBs for their upcoming ultrabooks.
Intel has been a big proponent of prismatic LIBs in the notebook sector, but sources point out that battery cell makers will be the ones who ultimately set the new battery standard. Currently prismatic LIBs are about 25 to 30-percent cheaper compared to traditional LIBs with the same capacity. Prismatic LIBs are also 5-percent lighter in weight.
Last month sources claimed that Intel was to hold a meeting with Taiwan-based supply chain makers sometime in July to discuss ways in minimizing ultrabook production costs. Intel wants to reduce ultrabook prices down to $699 in the second half of 2012, feeling pressured by the $100 price reduction of Apple's MacBook Air featuring Ivy Bridge processors.
Sources said that one of the topics of discussion will be using fiberglass-reinforced plastic cases in place of expensive aluminum-alloy, and using the cheaper prismatic LIBs in place of the current Li-polymer batteries. Hybrid drives would also be considered as a cheaper alternative to costly SDDs.