The future of battery life

December 15, 2019

Mobile phone battery life has long been recognised as one of the big issues in a world that’s increasingly mobile and data reliant.

And as 5G brings an era of more apps, more video and more intensive phone usage, the length of time a battery remains charged is set to separate the winners from the losers in the smart phone age.

That’ seen a lot of innovation over the past few years when it comes to battery power, charging and use.

Here’s an insight into just some of the major battery life innovations, and a few which are slated to arrive soon…

Wireless charging

wireless charging

One of the biggest battery innovations in recent years has been the arrival of wireless charging. Spearheaded by major brands like Nokia, Samsung, and Google, the concept first rolled out in about 2012, but has become more mainstream in recent years.

That’s seen wireless charging now become a common feature on top-end phones like the Samsung S range, with Apple and iPhone recently also joining the wireless movement.

The advantages include convenience and less wear and tear on the phone charging port and cable, but it’s also known to be a slightly slower charging method than a standard connection.

Machine learning

This year Samsung’s flagship phone rolled out with a little artificial intelligence incorporated in a bid to save on battery consumption. A major feature of the S10 was machine learning to maximise the phone’s capabilities.

The S10 uses machine learning to understand your day, then tailors the phone to suit. In layman’s terms, that means the phone can anticipate your routine and power down relevant apps in a bid to save on battery power.

So, if you’re a prolific Googler as you commute home, this phone will likely keep some power up its sleeve.

Bigger batteries

apple batteries

Meanwhile, as our dependency on smart phones increases, the batteries within them are getting larger, and Samsung is among the brands actively embracing this trend.

TechRadar notes the next Samsung S might even come with a 5000mAh battery. For reference, the current S10 has a 4100mAh battery, the Samsung Fold is packed with a 4380mAh battery, the iPhone XS Max has a 3174mAh number, and the Huawei Mate X has a 4500mAh battery.

That would make the 5000mAh one of the largest, if not the biggest, battery available in a smartphone, and it’s certainly the largest Samsung has yet embraced.

“In fact, 5,000mAh would be the biggest battery the company has ever put in a major phone,” TechRadar notes.

“Of course, there’s no guarantee yet that it really will be this big, but its mention on an official database is compelling evidence.”

Completely wireless

wireless charging iphone and apple watch

Recent rumours also indicate the 2021 incarnation of Apple’s top-end iPhone could be wireless altogether – as in no charging port and no headphone jack.

Based on predictions by renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, TechRadar notes “several generations of iPhones have been able to charge wirelessly, but it's tech that hasn't caught on for general users just yet”.

“This also rules out using the port to connect to computers, or to use wired headphones via an adaptor: now, all your connection will be done through Bluetooth or the internet.”

The future of batteries

Pocket Lint recently gazed into the crystal ball of batteries and cast their mind even further ahead, noting trends we may see in the future include:

• Wireless charging over Wi-Fi
• Silicon additives that can achieve three times better performance
• Gold nano wires to stop batteries degrading over time
• Laser manufactured micro-supercapacitors that could enable batteries to charge 50 times faster
• 3D copper foam batteries that are safer, faster to charge, last longer, and are cheaper
• Air charging, and sound charging

The final word

In a mobile world, battery life is an area of growing focus and attention as phone companies and other tech players across the globe look at new and innovative ways to improve on the technology available today.

That means the future could deliver longer-lasting, easily charged batteries which can quickly be topped up without the need to ever plug in.

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