I've been tracking the progress of fuel cell developments for portable applications for a long time, probably in the neighborhood of eight or nine years. It seems as if I've been reporting each year that end product availability is two years away.
That two-year wait may finally be coming to an end. Here at CTIA in Las Vegas, I met with representatives from Medis Technologies. The company thinks that within the next few months, it will start shipping an end-product fuel cell.
The Medis cell will be used for charging only, and will not be a refillable cell. It'll be a throw-away, priced around $20. Using this model, the problem of where the end user will find fuel goes away. The adapter pack, which costs a few extra bucks, will have adapter for most popular end devices, such as handsets, MP3 players, PDAs, etc.
For the first year or so, Medis will be producing the cells from its own factory in Israel. At the same time, they'll be readying a larger production facility in Asia for real mass production.
So don't be surprised when you're in 7-11 picking up milk or eggs when you see a Medis fuel cell on the shelf.