Toshiba has revealed two new advanced battery and memory technologies.

The company has developed a prototype battery that can be recharged "about 60 times" faster than conventional lithium ion batteries. It says the technology for these could be commercialised in about three years.

Toshiba has also begun sampling computer memory chips with the world's fastest data rate, and will start mass producing these later this year.

These 512Mb XDR (extreme data rate) DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips run at a speed of 4.8GHz, which is about 12 times faster than that of the memory typically found in today's desktop PCs, according to Junichi Nagaki, a Toshiba spokesman.

Better battery

Lithium ion batteries charge by absorbing ions in the negative electrode, and they discharge when ions flow from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. Conventional lithium ion batteries charge at a rate of 2 to 3 per cent of their total capacity per minute and take an hour or more to fully charge, according to the company.

Toshiba's prototypes are lithium ion batteries that contain a material in the negative electrode able to absorb about 80 per cent of the battery's total power capacity in about minute, according to Masayuki Ishikawa, assistant director at the company's corporate research and development center.

Toshiba plans to commercialize the battery technology for automotive and industrial applications in 2006. Next, the company is considering developing the technology for consumer electronics devices such as notebook PCs, mobile phones and other devices, he said.

"Technically, there is no problem to use this technology for cell phone batteries," Takami said.

Memory matters

DRAM is the main type of memory used in PCs and servers. The faster the memory, the more smoothly computers tend to work and faster memory helps games machines produce better graphics.

Working at the 4.8GHz speed, the chips deliver a bandwidth of 12.8GB per second, and this will help make them suitable for use in high-end digital TVs and PC graphics applications, Nagaki said.

If more voltage is used, the chips can work at a peak operating speed of 6.4GHz, according to Toshiba.

XDR is the name of a memory technology developed by Rambus. The chips incorporate a Rambus technology called ODR (octal data rate) signalling, which can transfer eight bits of data per clock cycle, according to Toshiba.

The chips won't be needed for mainstream desktop computers, but their ability to process large volumes of data quickly means they will be useful in very high-end workstations, network systems, and for graphics and video applications, Kim said.

Sony is planning to use four 256Mb XDR chips in the upcoming PlayStation 3 games console.