CES 2013: Lenovo 27" Tablet and Nectar Fuel Cell iPhone Charger

The Consumer Electronics Show can get a bad rap from bloggers and journalists who have become jaded by seeing the same products over and over. So, it can be particularly satisfying to see new classes of products that haven't quite hit the mainstream, even if there may be some practical limitations to their ultimate success.

Two of those type of products that I saw at this year's CES include Lenovo's 27" table-top tablet and Nectar Power's fuel cell charger.

Lenovo 27" Table PC

table tablet
It seems absurd when you first hear about it -- a 27" Table PC from Lenovo -- essentially a 27" tablet that you place on your tabletop. It runs Windows 8 and can also stand up to be used as a more traditional computer.

It doesn't sound particularly practical, but standing in front of it at CES, I was intrigued. When we saw Jeff Han's first multi-touch demos in 2006 or Microsoft's Surface Table for $10,000, our first reaction was that these multi-touch tables were the future, and we wanted one for our house. Now, you will be able to get one for approximately $1699 this summer.


There are some practical issues with a device of this type. Lenovo had to add their own custom interface layer on top of Windows 8 to accommodate the flat-table multi-touch action. They've also partnered with a number of companies such as EA to provide table-top multi-touch versions of their games, so software selection to start will be limited.

Given the relatively high costs of ownership, it's hard to imagine that this will grow beyond a niche product. As a result, it's also hard to believe that Apple would be ever interested in pursuing this market themselves.

Still, I'm glad this product exist and will be curious to see how it evolves over time.

Nectar Power Fuel Cell Charger

nectar charging
It feels like fuel cell technology has been on the cusp for the past decade. We even reported back in 2003 that Apple was actively pursuing the technology for future PowerBook designs. Nine years later, and we haven't seen much in the way of practical fuel cell usage in our consumer electronics. Fuel cells promise a high density of energy using some form of replenishable fuel supply.

Lilliputian Systems is a 12 year old company that has been working on commercializing its fuel cell system. The company has raised over $100 million dollars over that time from investors. At CES, it has launched its first product called Nectar Power, which is available for pre-order at Brookstone.

Nectar Power is a fuel cell charger for your iPhone or any other USB-powered device. It comes in two parts: the charger itself and the disposable fuel pods filled with butane. Each pod provides your iPhone with 10 full recharges (55,000mW), which the company estimates could last you two weeks.

nectar unplugged1The initial cost for the charger itself is $299 and comes with an initial fuel pod. Replacement fuel pods cost $9.99 each.

That's where the numbers could get tricky. Despite the high energy density, the recurring cost of pod-replacements will make it hard to adopt it as your standard charging solution, while the high initial cost for the system will make it hard to buy to keep around just as a backup charging system. One notable advantage of the system, however, is that the Nectar Power system is said to retain its power far more effectively than a battery. An unattended Nectar would only be expected to lose about 10% of its charging ability over the course of year.

Overall, the product is fascinating and a taste of what's to come down the line as the product gets smaller/cheaper and expands into other devices.

Top Rated Comments

D.T. Avatar
118 months ago
Here's my prototype iPhone charger with a replenishable fuel supply:

Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
longofest Avatar
118 months ago
"Absurd" ?!

Seriously it's not your job to make such comments

You bring us the news

We make the judgements

I'd give Arn a little slack. He's done quite well for the community over the years.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unggoy Murderer Avatar
118 months ago
Pictures like this are now justified.

Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radio Avatar
118 months ago
"Absurd" ?!

Seriously it's not your job to make such comments

You bring us the news

We make the judgements
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D.T. Avatar
118 months ago
Great, I can't wait to get on plane full of explosive iPhone chargers ...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
118 months ago
I think we can safely say, while maybe Apple doesn't try hard enough with it's product revs, Samsung (did you see their new fugly and unfunctional TV shape?) and Lenovo try too hard. Ultimately, its still the "a piece is missing" Apple device we all still want because it's designed for the way conventional people live.

I was at a conference last year where Malcom Gladwell spoke. The subject of his keynote was "practical innovation" and he used Apple as an example, saying they weren't first and sometimes not even second but it didn't matter because at the end of the day they produced a product people wanted to buy. I have no problem with Apple being more conservative and not just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
microsoft office icons

Microsoft Releases Office for Mac Update With Full Apple Silicon Support in Excel

Tuesday January 18, 2022 4:15 am PST by
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite that includes an updated Excel app with 100% native support for Apple silicon machines. According to the release notes accompanying version 16.57, Excel will now run natively on Macs powered by Apple's M1-series processors without having to use the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which means anyone using a Mac with an ...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

Rumored iPhone 14 Pro Feature Delayed Until Next Year

Wednesday January 19, 2022 3:00 am PST by
Apple's long-rumored under-display Face ID technology will not be coming to the iPhone 14 Pro, according to recent reports. Based on the latest rumors, it now looks unlikely that the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max will feature Face ID technology under the display as several reports claimed over the past year. Display industry consultant Ross Young, who often reveals ...