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Batteries- Consumer Forecasts (2011 January 31)

CES 2011 - Battery Powered Products Fads, Figures and Forecasts

by Shirley Georgi

Will global sales of consumer electronics reach $1 trillion in 2011?  It could happen.  Already in 2010, the worldwide figure is $873 billion.  

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas   this past year (2010)  revenues from  factory sales to retailers reported by the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) were  about $170 billion.  But the news forecast is even better for 2011.  CEA president/CEO Gary Shipiro  expects factory sales to retailers to  rise 3.5 percent in 2011 and  reach $182 billion.  Could this possibly be a new peak in revenue for those making these devices?  If so, what are the propelling  ‘gadgets’  making the figures soar even higher ?  According to Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis for CEA, there are two main drivers  for an acceleration of dollars -   that being, wireless phones and tablets.     

Tablets Reign -
retail sales to grow 40 percent in 2011

At  CES , the buzz word was ‘Tablet.’  In the CES Daily and Twice special edition, articles on tablets made  headlines on the front page -  “Tablet PCs Take CES Spotlight,”   “Tablets Continue  to reign over CES,” and “Tablet PCs to Take Star Turn at Int’l CES.”  The market for 2011 was described as booming. Kumu Puri, senior executive with Accenture’s consumer electronics practice, said, “It is likely that tablet computers will establish themselves at CES 2011 as the biggest overall product story.”11

Estimates
FBR estimates that every 2.5 tablets negates
the sale of a PC. 3

More than 80 tablets were displayed at the Show.  The research firm Garner reports that in 2010 about 10 million units were sold, but that this figure would double in 2010.1  Strategy Analytics notes that Apple holds 75 percent of the market with its iPad and will continue to keep market share for 2011.2  (Apple is not a participant in CES.)

Although growth of the market  anticipates a rise  in volume over the next 3 to 4 years, analyst Dmtriy Molchanov of The Yankee Group comments  that the price of tablets will decline in the next few years for two reasons: 1) Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon to make the product  . 2)  There will be a  decline in the cost of components in  manufacturing  each unit.   Computerworld reports that today retail sales of  tablets range from $450 to $600.12 But prices will fall. According  to Molchanov at  Strategy Analytics,  here in the U.S., the average tablet  price for a tablet  would dip to $237 by 2015.4

XOOM
Winner of CNET's "Best of Show" and "Best Tablet" at CES 2011. Motorola XOOM(TM) is available at Verizon. (Photo is courtesy of Motorola Mobility, Inc)

Cell phones - 1.29 billion units shipped this year

The terminology in this category is becoming more difficult to follow since cell phones are no  longer a simple device.  References are being made to mobile handsets, smartphones, 3G and 4G units.

According to iSuppli, growth in  mobile communications is expected to  reach $271.3 billion in 2011.5  Although 4G (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G) is making the headlines, 3G mobiles  still hold  the largest revenue share. 

But the hottest items are the smartphones with 4G. Although Smartphone sales were up 51 percent in 2010, this category is in its infancy.  Revenues for  2010  totaled close to 1.3 billion dollars, a small faction in the cell phone arena..5  Smart phones are on the rise, however, and sales are expected to increase by 59% for 2011.13

Making headlines  after CES, HTC, a manufacturer of smartphones in Taiwan, is basing its success on 4G.  Its smartphone sales jumped 111% in one year lfrom 11.7 million   to 24.6  million devices in 2010.   The company  is building units for both Verizon and AT&T. 14

Batteries - Lithium polymer is the winner

The lithium polymer battery is the power source in demand.  The flexible pouch style batteries allow for these  lightweight units to be built with a slim, sleek, and  sensational look.  A favorable  feature allows for   these  batteries  to  be manufactured in a wide range of shapes and sizes.  The   polymer electrolyte used in lithium polymer  batteries is not flammable  although care must be taken in charging the cells so overcharge does not lead to   failure. The batteries can be set on the shelf for several months  without losing  any significant  charge.

Globally, Lithium-ion  chemistry  constitutes the largest product segment of all  the rechargeable batteries. Within this group,   lithium polymer is the fastest growing category with a compounded annual growth rate of at least 13 percent as calculated and forecasted  over a period from 2007 to 2015. 

Manufacturers are striving  constantly to get better battery life from rechargeable lithium batteries, but electrochemistry advances are difficult challenges. However, much progress has been made in the past five years. 

One of the CES manufacturers  displaying tablets with this rechargeable chemistry was  Samsung.  Its Galaxy Tab 7 inch  model is equiped with a 4000 mAh lithium polymer battery.  If the unit is used in a 3G setting, possible talk time could be up to +16 hours, but if the device would  strickly cater to HD content, battery life on one charge could be only about  2.5 hours.

Each battery can be   a costly component in the manufacture of a handset.    For example in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Gt-P1 handset/tablet, the battery powering the device shows   significant cost  in the teardown analysis of the unit.  iSuppli.com has  provided the following data.  The percent of  total cost by assembly, component family and component type is 5.09 percent for the battery.   The   $US figure  for each unit (one battery)  is $10.60.17  

Revenues 1G
Revenues for 1G and 2G mobile handsets are sizeable in emerging countries but fell almost 20% in 2010 from the previous year to $55.6 billion. (Information from iSupply.5)

If Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute’s forecast  of 34.81 million tablet devices are to be shipped in 2011, there could be competition for battery orders.18 

With the big surge for supply of these batteries, Energy Trend’s  research shows that manufacturing could be a hurdle.    “At this stage, most production capacity can only sufficiently supply to Apple, and it is highly probable that  (a) tight  supply of (the)  polymer lithium  (lithium polymer) battery will occur in the future.”  Some of the current  suppliers of this battery are ATL, Sony and SDI.6 

A New ‘Fad’ -NFC

Although only discussed (and not demonstrated) at CES, one of the next ignitors for the cell phone will be NFC (near field communications) technology. See also nfc forum.

NFC may also be used by a phone user when shopping.  NFC chips in newer smartphones can read codes in retail items.  The code opens a browser which provides more information about the selected item.

NFC
“NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology based on magnetic field induction.” John Dvorak of Marketwatch refers to it as a “credit card transmitter” which is supposed to be more secure than RFID.”

Although not yet popularized in the U.S., J. P. Morgan reports that the technology is being utilized in the global community.  “The current usage model for NFC technology is  for enabling personal financial and banking transactions via mobile phones, which has already gained significant traction in Europeand f Asia.”9

Google has stated that it will incorporate support for NFC in its 2.3 Android.   The BIG wireless carriers AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are in talks with retail stores about incorporating  NFC codes.16 

In a Smartphone panel session at CES this year, Jessica Dolcourt asked the panel about NFC.  Based on the discussion and reporting, it is their belief that  “NFC chips will proliferate as one way that smartphones will largely replace physical wallets.” 10  And with all the other multimedia being added, the panel noted, “Battery technology will also have to improve to handle the much  richer multimedia.”10  Just how this technology will evolve remains to be seen.
 
References

1 “Tablet PCs to Flood Mobile Computing Market” by Doug Olenick, CES Daily,  Jan. 6, 2011, p. 118
2. “Suppliers Rushing to Grab Tablet PC Cold, Starting at CES” by Joseph Palenchar, TWICE, Jan. 6, 2011, p. 4
3. “Gartner Forecasts: PC Shipments Down, Tablets Up” by Ryan Kim, http://gigaom.com, Nov. 29, 2010
4. “Tablet Computer Market Set to Soar” by Tim Gray, TechNews Daily, Jan. 5, 2011
5. “Market for Mobile Communications Gear Nears Quarter-Trillion -Dollar Mark” by Francis Sideco, iSuppli, Dec. 12, 2010
6. “Energy Trend: Polarized Development in Lithium battery in 2011: Joys for Polymer Battery, Concerns for Cylindrical Battery,” Trendforce.com
7. “Global Rechargeable Batteries Market to Reach US$16 Billion by 2015,” Global Industry Analysis, Inc. January 3, 2011
8. “The NFC revolution” by John C. Dvorak,  Marketwatch, Jan. 7, 2011
9. “Broadcom Poised To Take Advantage of Growing Market, J.P. Morgan Reports” by Benzinga StaffL, January 10, 2011
10 “CES: Lessons from a smartphone talk” by Jessica Dolcourt, http://ces.cnet.com, January 8, 2011
11 “Tablet PCs to Take Star Turn At Int’l CES” by Joseph Palenchar and Doug Olenick, CES Daily, January 6, 2011, p.1
12 “CES: 11 tablets worth watching” by Matt Hamblen,

BD                      SACES 2011 Rev F
Batteries-Consumer Electronics Show (2011 January 31)

Digging for Batteries at the
International CES 2011


by Donald Georgi

Today’s CES is really a serious connection between manufacturers, ‘wannbe’ manufacturers, and distributors or ‘wannabe’ distributors of consumer electronics, focusing almost exclusively on  entertainment TV, computers, cell phones, e books and audio devices. With real-time Comdex (http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/it/ comdex-2010-virtual-fear-and-loathing-of-las-vegas), now a page of history, the Consumer Electronics Show is now the largest in Las Vegas. This year about 140,000 people, of which 30,000 were international attendees  migrated from Comdex ‘Nerdstock’ (a description coined by Dave Barry) to ‘cashstock’, a forum on making and selling what consumers will want for their entertainment experience. For years now, CES’s theme has been convergence, and this year did not disappoint. The show promised, and delivered heavy quantities of 3-D televisions, notepad PCs and cellular devices, all of which were accompanied by  bright flashing lights and megawatts of ear shattering noise to convince attendees that they truly occupied the center of the universe.
CES Floor
Sun, sand, xxx and sensationalism greeted the visitors to the Las Vegas CES 2011 Show. (Photo courtesy of CES).

Where were the Batteries?

As the door  opened on a bright sunny CES 2011 in Las Vegas, attendees did not entertain the battery question. They knew that batteries were only cans and packages housing chipmunks or beetles frantically scurrying about making electricity, eventually to succumb to the law of entropy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Entropy) at the most frustrating or life threatening moment for the battery powered device’s owner.

Only the BD staff wondered about the batteries. And this was the challenge for the next few days…where were the batteries… how many were there…and how many more were going to be needed…when...and for what?

Most Hype- 3D TV

Since big screen 3-D plugs into the wall, one might suspect that their impact on battery business would be zero. But there are three types vying for the decoding of 3-D information, one being a glasses-free set with a rippled refractor giving the 3-D impression. This method is so dependent on the viewer’s position that one had to walk through a special tunnel to be in just the right place to experience the 3-D. No batteries here! Not something  ready for the living room either!

One could stretch the point to say that these new 3 D TV’s will have a subset in the portable arena, or will evolve with the iPhoneTM to expand the need for polymers which already exist with the ever expanding cell phone market.

The other two 3 D methods use glasses. One uses battery-absent passive glasses like those in the theater some 60 years ago. The other uses glasses which are synchronized to the screen, ideally requiring some power and, without tethering cables, but batteries are needed. Already there are suppliers providing hundreds of stylized 3 D designs for the glasses so the wearer does not have to be left behind in the trendy world of style.

3D Glasses
There may be few batteries for the 3D TVs, but a whole new market opens in the field of 3d glasses.

Shown above is the XPAND YOUNIVERSAL series 3D electronic eyewear that optimizes the 3D experience by modifying the 3D parameters specifically for each user and for different 3D environments. Styles are available in multi colors, and male/female versions. Links include IR, Bluetooth, RF and DLP-Link with apps for the IPhoneTM and AndroidTM platforms.

Manufacturers envision expanding beyond the entertainment market to include education and technology. (Photo courtesy of XPAND.)

Are active glasses going to reconfigure battery history? Probably not! But they could require a few million every year. Batteries for glasses might be primaries if the power demands are low. The average churlish dolt would not recognize the need for batteries in an AC powered, super ‘hypetellicious’ 3D TV with fudge topping and nuts. But the savvy battery gurus see beyond the glitz to the needed battery power in each TV remote. It is both an old market and an ever growing one, both with the number of remote connections and the ever increasing capabilities of the remotes.

Remotes - Implicit Connectivity
Logitech 1100
In the upper photo is the Logitech Harmony 1100 remote featuring a 3.5-inch, full-color touch screen and RF  wireless technology. For many, it is bigger than their first computer.

Next is the Logitech Harmony 900, a smaller device, but again it too has a color screen and a thirst for battery power.
Logitech Harmony
Both of these remotes have graduated from the line-of-sight infrared communications links to a house wide radio link. There is no need to trash all the old IR electronics because these Harmony remotes talk to black boxes called blasters and mini-Blasters which are located at the TV, stereo, etc. to receive and execute the connectivity commanded by the remote to new or old devices.

This backward compatibility will mean faster implementation to ‘smart’ remotes and make it much  easier to need more batteries witht  the new remotes  which will then need many more replacements. Whereas the remote market has been the exclusive territory for primary alkaline, these new bigger and thirstier remotes can dig into the advantages of rechargeable Lithium- ion and Polymer(Lithium-ion polymer).  Unit price tags have blossomed so more complex battery chemistry can have  the price hidden within the total unit cost. (Photos   courtesy of Logitech.)
Cellular
Another of the most popular devices at the show was the ever-expanding cellular phone. Picture here that while Apple does not attend this show, the iPhoneTM application, interconnectivity and presence is ubiquitous. At CES, it appears that everyone’s device works with the iPhoneTM, holds the iPhoneTM or has a romantic dinner with the iPhoneTM. That means only one thing! There is an ever expanding OEM market and aftermarket for cellular batteries probably in  polymer form.

ATRIXGarnering a top award at CES for  ‘best smartphone’, the Motorola ATRIX Android based cellphone promises computer connectivity with a laptop dock to give it (convergence) connectivity beyond just the plain old 4G cellphone.

More capability may expand the total number of users and thereby the OEM battery and replacemnt needs. Photo courtesy of Motorola.

The third big player at  CES 2011 was the tablet PC. The popular screen sizes for tablets are 7 inches, 8 inches and 10 inches. They work on a variety of operating systems from Windows to Android to Linux . (Remember Apple is not here with its iPadTM.)

There appeared to be enough tablet suppliers for a world population in excess of 40 billion people, so one might suspect that over a period of time the majority will go the way of all flesh, leaving the brand name producers to supply a yet to be determined market size. For the polymer battery manufacturers it will be a growing OEM and aftermarket opportunity.

Strangely, the tablet without a keyboard is already recognized as being short of a keyboard so many of the devices can be obtained with a separate wireless keyboard, bringing the size up to the ballpark of a netbook. Is this convergence or merely a new paradigm?

Convergence?

At least five years ago a major or underlying theme for CES had been convergence. The structure  has been left open, but the pathway points to a singular ‘white’ hole which would have every aspect of entertainment, data manipulation, communications and sushi recipes. Convergence has progressed yearly as we have seen with  communications, entertainment and special functions gravitating to the likes of the 3 G wireless devices. At  CES 2011 we see that they all tie together through apps and systems such as Google TV which brings everything into the HDTV screen of the media center. Couch potatoes can now wirelessly deposit their unemployment check without leaving the multicolored glow of their 1080p center of life. The bathroom is still a short walk, but convergence has not run its course.

Ligitech Review
 Logitech’s ReviewTM implements Google TV to interface all aspects of the web via wireless (2)  or ethernet to  router  and hardwire to cable (3) or satellite boxes. Provisions for smartphones (4)  allow users to control the  Revue with your iPhoneTM or AndroidTM smartphone.. It puts your  computer screen into the HDTV display(1) allowing everything from football games to e mail. (BD modified graphic, made by adding cellular connection (4) to Logitech art.)

Is there any place for batteries in convergence? Yes, if you look at the cell phone batteries and remotes, but much of the interconnection of convergence sucks its electrons from the wall. Still, total battery need will grow both in primaries and rechargeables at both the OEM and replacement levels. Is there anything on the horizon which will replace these stalwarts? Probably not! It is a  commodity market.

The Battery Companies

Some of the battery companies are known principally for  their battery lines such as Energizer, but others have batteries encased deep within their product lines such as BYD and Hyundai. The latter focus on autos, but still have major impacts on all aspects of battery manufacture.

market share

Energizer's CES Award Winners
Energizer Inductive Charger
Moving in a direction to make the use of battery  powered devices more palatable, Energizer introduced the Inductive Charger(R), shown here. Simple placement on the platform pumps the portables without plugging in.
Energizer Recharge


Also a winner was Energizer’s Smart Charger(R) which controls charging of Nickel metal hydride cells to extend battery life and display remaining charge time and fuel gauge to indicate available power. (Photos courtesy of Energizer.)




Robots

The popular conception of a robot is a humanoid, which mimics the actions of people as embodied in the lovable Star Wars ‘bots’ R2D2 and C3PO. In 1977 moviegoers definitely left the theater with a dream of  ‘I want one of those’ when the future gets here. Today the future is here, but R2 (his first name) is still a virtual ‘bot’ with not much hope of becoming reality in our living room.

As the Japanese’ population has aged, the society has realized that there are insufficient caregivers to the elderly and thoughts of robotic caregivers replacing unavailable people caused serious efforts to develop humanoids. At the turn of the century CES, attendees were treated to the likes of Asimo, the Honda humanoid who could walk and climb stairs, but it still remains a curiosity for entertainment.

exoskeleton
 Robots as humanoid curiosities have had limited market acceptance possibly because they are so expensive and provide little service. As the industry matures; application specific robots are beginning to appear in items such as this exoskeleton ‘HAL’ (Hybrid Assisted Limb built by Cyberdyne.) The military has had interest in exoskeletons for soldiers who must lift very heavy items suchas munitions. Medical applications include rehabilitation and even replacement movement for amputees or paralyzed people.

In having purpose and value, these robots should provide a new market for batteries which could become very large. Rechargeables such as Lithium-ion and Nickel metal hydrides would most likely be preferred. (Photo courtesy of Cyberdyne:http://www.cyberdyne.jp
/english/robotsuithal/index.html)

Medical robotics from the likes of Intuitive Surgical have established the role of robotics in improving quality of life.  The rich experiential history of the U.S. military’s development of drone aircraft and IED diffusing ‘bots’ sets the stage for personal  application-specific robotic technologies which could become the next wave of consumer electronics and quality of life applications such as manufacturing, medicine and security.

Meanwhile consumer robotics targeted to application specifics such as robotic floor sweepers have not found the excitement pervading the TV, phone and computer products. Once some aspect of consumer robotics catches fire, the associated need for batteries could ride the wave.

Electric and Hybrid vehicles

CES is beginning to make space for battery powered vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt and  the Ford Focus Electric, Ford's electric vehicle  unveiled at CES. Emphasizing the importance of  EV’s and hybrids, CEO Mulally announced that Ford will have five electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2012. (Ed.Note: the attitude of automakers has changed from their hostile position during the California Air Resources Board imposed electric vehicle requirements of the 1990’s. Could it be that the dire financial conditions and negaqtive public focus of the recent financial meltdown changed auto manufacturer’s desire for a better image with the public?)

Fuel Cell Auto
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies...
was a boothholder at CES. They put a 6 kWfuel cell in a 2 seater city car developed by Riversimple using commercially available hydrogen.

Fuel Cell comparison
Fuel cell efficiency and CO2 emissions leave the VW Simple Urban and Toyota Prius in the dust. (Graphics courtesy of Horizon.)

The Ford Focus will use lithium-ion batteries supplied by Korean based LG Chemical, an interesting choice in light of the over $1 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds sent to Michigan, and another $2.4 billion being spent by the taxpayer funded Department of Energy for battery technology to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. It will charge in just over three hours using a 240 volt outlet. Owners will be able to use Value Charging powered by Microsoft, which will only charge  the vehicle when utility rates are at the absolute lowest.

Meanwhile, the cost of the garage charger may be a windfall for electrical contractors who may charge from $500 to over  $2,000 for the installation.

Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics like fuel cells have a price competition challenge  as does the fuel cell. While government funding continues to  nurture stationary PV, the consumer has not looked to PV to power  the myriad of portable electronics.

Solar bag

















Devices like the solar capturing briefcase by eco traveler  shown  here have external PV to provide power to recharge small electronic devices and when not needed, the briefcase PV can put the power in an included supercap storage box. When all else fails, the briefcase incudes an optional wall charger.


The Bottom Line

Batteries are in abundance at CES, but they are buttoned up inside the glitzy entertainment end products,  hidden from the consumer’s view. The choice of type, shape and chemistry of each battery is left to the product builders. In cases where competing products can differentiate by convenience or life, a battery choice could be used to sway customer preference, but for example, the convenience difference between the easy user-battery-replacement- of a Sony WalkmanTM versus the difficult-replacement in an iPodTM, can be overcome with  product advertising hype.

Future battery market growth could be provided by robots and the consumer could develop a thirst for fuel cell power and transportation, while consumer extended product portability could be enhanced with solar power. Can CES develop the hype for these thechnologies? Stay tuned!

BD                     DK CESJan2001A 

model
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