October 2008 saw Japan's biggest electronics show: Ceatec. More than 196,000 visitors to Ceatec got a chance to see the best of the Japanese electronics industry, including some exciting prototypes of devices that are still a long way from hitting the market.
R&D: Toshiba Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
In the next six months we should see Toshiba's first DMFC (direct-methanol fuel-cell). The company won't say what form it will take but it should be out sometime before the end of March. DMFCs produce electricity from a reaction between methanol, water and air.
The only by-products are a small amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide, so DMFCs are often seen as a greener source of energy than traditional batteries. Another advantage is that they can be replenished with a new cartridge of methanol in seconds.
We got a clue about the possible device at Ceatec when Toshiba showed a cell phone based on a fuel cell. The fuel cell was integrated into the clamshell phone under the keypad and made the handset a little thicker, although not considerably. Watch this space for details of the DMFC when it's announced!
(Additional reporting by Sumner Lemon and Chiara Castañeda)