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


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


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.

The 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

(View all)
Avatar
102 months ago
Here's my prototype iPhone charger with a replenishable fuel supply:

Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 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)
Avatar
102 months ago
Pictures like this are now justified.

Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 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)
Avatar
102 months ago
Great, I can't wait to get on plane full of explosive iPhone chargers ...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 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)

Top Stories

'A New iOS Update is Now Available' Popping Up Repeatedly in iOS 14 Beta [Fixed: New Beta Available]

Thursday October 29, 2020 6:11 pm PDT by
Many users running iOS 14 beta are reporting that they are seeing a dialog box pop up repeatedly asking them to update from the latest iOS 14 beta. Threads in our forums, Reddit, and Twitter are reporting the issue. The dialog has been appearing for a few days now, but as of tonight has started appearing more frequently, every time an iPhone is unlocked. There's been further discussion in...

Apple Seeds New iOS 14.2 Versions Which Stops 'New iOS Update Available' Alerts

Friday October 30, 2020 1:09 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded "Release Candidate" versions of upcoming iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates to developers and public beta testers, 10 days after seeding the fourth betas and a month and a half after releasing the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates. iOS and iPadOS 14.2 can be downloaded by developers through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper developer profile has been...

Apple One is Now Available: Save Money by Bundling Apple Music, iCloud Storage, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and More

Friday October 30, 2020 7:47 am PDT by
Apple One bundles are now available in the United States and over 100 other countries, allowing customers to subscribe to multiple Apple services through a single plan, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, and more. To sign up for Apple One on an iPhone: Open Settings App Tap on Your Name at the top Tap on Subscriptions Tap on Apple One The prompt for Apple One...

Black Friday Spotlight: Best Buy Kicks Off a Month of Apple Deals and More

Friday October 30, 2020 10:02 am PDT by
We've begun tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....

Apple Launches AirPods Pro Service Program for Crackling/Static Problems and ANC Issues

Friday October 30, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of a new service program for AirPods Pro sound issues, which is designed to address AirPods Pro units experiencing static or crackling sounds or problems with Active Noise Cancellation. Faulty AirPods exhibit the following problems, according to Apple:Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone ...

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'More Exciting Things' in Store For This Year

Thursday October 29, 2020 2:20 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2020 (third calendar quarter), Cook said that while he doesn't want to give too much away, "this year has a few more exciting things in store." Cook is likely speaking about the Apple Silicon Macs, as Apple has previously said the first Apple Silicon Mac will be coming before the end of 2020. There are rumors of a third fall event ...

Hands-On Comparison: iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 12 Pro

Friday October 30, 2020 2:29 pm PDT by
For those still trying to make a decision between an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 12 Pro, we picked up both models and in our latest YouTube video, did a hands-on comparison between them. Our video highlights the similarities and the differences so you can which one is the best fit for you and whether the iPhone 12 Pro is worth an extra $200. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...

Apple One Service Bundles Set to Launch Tomorrow, Fitness+ Coming This Quarter

Thursday October 29, 2020 1:39 pm PDT by
Apple in September announced Apple One, a new series of services bundles that will let Apple device customers purchase several services together in one package instead of separately, saving money for those who use multiple Apple service products. Ahead of Apple's earnings call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri told Bloomberg that Apple One is set to launch on Friday, October 30. Apple One Bundle...

PSA: Apple One Premier Bundle Only Available in US, UK, Canada, and Australia

Friday October 30, 2020 2:39 am PDT by
Apple's new Apple One series of services bundles launches on Friday in over 100 countries and regions, but the top Premier tier will be limited to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. The limited rollout of the $29.95 Premier tier is down to the fact that Apple News+ is currently only available in the above countries. Apple News+ is exclusive to the Premier tier,...

Apple Says Record 2020 Mac Sales Attributed Primarily to MacBook Pro

Friday October 30, 2020 12:24 pm PDT by
Apple on Thursday reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, including Mac revenue of $9 billion, a new quarterly record. Apple ended the year with annual Mac revenue of $28.6 billion, an all-time high. In its annual Form 10-K report [PDF], filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today, Apple said increased Mac sales in fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal ...