Microsoft has certainly had some ups and downs with its products over the years, but we're pretty sure the company's new InstaLoad technology falls somewhere between a home run and the best thing it's ever done. It promises to do nothing short of redefine the way you insert batteries, and let you shove 'em into devices without any regard for positive or negative polarity. That's apparently possible thanks to a patented battery contact design, which Microsoft says "simply works," and is compatible with a whole range of battery sizes (both standard and rechargeable). What's more, Microsoft is now already licensing the technology to third party device suppliers, and is even offering a royalty-free license for suppliers and manufacturers of accessibility products. Still no word on when the first devices using the technology will be available, but Microsoft already counts Duracell and flashlight-manufacturer AE Light among its partners. Head on past the break for the complete press release.
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Microsoft Unveils InstaLoad Battery Installation Technology That Allows Batteries to Be Inserted in Either Direction: New ease-of-use feature now available for third-party licensing.
REDMOND, Wash. July 1, 2010 Microsoft Corp. today announced a new technology aimed at improving the battery installation process called InstaLoad battery installation technology, which allows users to easily install a battery without regard to positive and negative polarity. Never again will people have to squint to see battery installation diagrams - the device simply works regardless if the battery is installed positive-side-up or positive-side-down. InstaLoad is a patented battery contact design now available for license by third-party device suppliers, with companies like Duracell already lining up to endorse the technology for use in their own products.
Product Applications and Differentiators
InstaLoad technology can be incorporated into devices that require frequent battery swap-outs, are used in less-than-ideal environments or use several batteries. Industries that could greatly benefit from this type of timesaving technology based on their environments include law enforcement, military, construction, outdoor sporting and camping. In addition, users of devices with multiple batteries and frequent battery swap-out - including battery chargers, digital cameras, camera flash units and toys - could also benefit.
Unlike existing electronic solutions designed to address battery-polarity installation, InstaLoad is a mechanical invention that does not drain battery power or require expensive electronic circuitry. InstaLoad battery contacts can be cost-effectively designed into most battery compartments, as it usually requires replacing existing battery contacts with the patented InstaLoad contact design. The technology is compatible with popular off-the-shelf batteries used in products such as flashlights, toys, battery chargers, lighting and most other battery-operated consumer electronic devices that use CR123, AA, AAA, C or D size batteries (disposable or rechargeable) or similar barrel-type battery form factors.
Royalty-Free License Program for Accessibility Products
The InstaLoad technology can provide an additional usability benefit for battery-operated accessibility devices that are designed for people with hearing, vision or learning disabilities.
"Microsoft is pleased to offer a royalty-free license program to suppliers and manufacturers for this class of accessibility devices," said Rusty Jeffress, corporate vice president, Specialized Devices & Applications, Microsoft. "We believe the InstaLoad feature can make a difference in the lives of those people who need and use these products on a daily basis."
Microsoft Licensing Program
InstaLoad is the latest addition to the Microsoft Hardware Intellectual Property Licensing program. The Microsoft Hardware IP Licensing program was established five years ago and has successfully licensed Microsoft technology to many global manufacturers and retail brands in the mouse, keyboard and webcam industries. InstaLoad is the first technology offering by Microsoft Hardware for licensing to a broader industry, across a variety of battery-operated devices.
Microsoft is offering commercial licensees both a license to the InstaLoad technology and a license to the InstaLoad logo for use on product packaging and marketing materials. This logo program will help users identify those battery-operated products that feature InstaLoad technology. Microsoft offers commercial licensees fair and equitable terms. In addition, Microsoft offers a no-charge InstaLoad evaluation kit, which includes a detailed design specification and demo unit to help device suppliers quickly start their product prototyping.
More information about the Microsoft InstaLoad technology and Hardware IP Licensing program is available at
http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/licensing/instaloadtechnology.mspx or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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Technology Partner Quotes
"Duracell Smart Power is all about making the lives of consumers easier and more efficient as they depend on battery power for the mobile devices that keep them organized and connected while away from the grid. After evaluating Microsoft's InstaLoad technology, Duracell is excited about the possibilities of incorporating this simplified battery installation technology into future Duracell products, delivering a better experience for our consumers."
Director, Global Marketing
"Black Diamond Equipment is a global leader in the supply of technology products used by outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. Our customers demand the highest quality products used in the harshest environments. We are pleased to be working with Microsoft to incorporate the InstaLoad Technology into our headlamps to let our customers focus on the task at hand."
Black Diamond Equipment Co.
"AE Light is pleased to be one of the first companies to incorporate Microsoft's InstaLoad technology into our law enforcement flashlight line. Having the ability to quickly change a battery without concern of proper positioning under stressful conditions is a major safety improvement."
Allsman Enterprises (AE Light)
"As a leading manufacturer of communication technology for people with hearing and vision loss, simplicity is a key component to the usability of our products. We are pleased to partner with Microsoft to offer the InstaLoad battery installation technology in ClearSounds Communications' planned accessibility products. This seemingly simple technology will dramatically improve the experience for our customers."
"Memory Protection Devices (MPD) is pleased to partner with Microsoft on the rollout of its InstaLoad technology. We intend to manufacture Microsoft's InstaLoad battery holders and contacts, and market them via our websites (http://www.batteryholders.com and http://www.battery-contacts.com). We will ensure that these innovative components are available to developers of battery powered products on a global scale."
Memory Protection Devices Inc.