One area most phone manufacturers had fallen behind in innovation – until now – must be in the battery and phone charging technologies. With the mobile industry breaking new grounds and literary revolutionizing the regular phone, adding great new features, never-before thought of connectivity capabilities and fun ways to unwind on the go, the need for full batteries and fast phone charging technology has become synonymous with hardware-based phone performance ratings.
Big on Features, Poor on Battery Life
Smartphones have taken over the industry, and recent research findings estimate smartphone users to have past the 1 billion mark worldwide as of the year 2014. “Phablets”, the popular moniker for 5.5-inch and larger display smartphones, for example, are currently doing well across various global smartphone markets, especially in the South Asian region. However these large gadgets are more power-hungry than other smaller-display smart portables.
Tablets, the Apple-invented nickname for 7-inch and beyond display handsets, are even less generous on the battery. While an Apple iPad Air 2, or Samsung Mobile’s Galaxy S Tab tablet can now run seamlessly past the 24-hour mark, tablet users across the world have not always had it this good, and long.
Innovations in Phone Charging Technology
With smartphones running low, or completely out of power just when an important call or text message is due, it was inevitable that someone had to do something – or risk losing out on the highly competitive smartphone market. In the recent past a number of pioneering phone charging technology breakthroughs have caught our attention, and we hereby line them all up for checking below.
Wireless (Inductive) Charging
Now smartphone users no longer have to ferry cord chargers, look around for available power points, and hook up the gadget just in time to counter that familiar “Battery low! Your phone will switch off in 30 seconds” warning.
How it works: Power up without plugging in
According to telecommunications giant, Verizon Wireless, wireless phone charging technology is quiet simple. Cordless chargers emit an alternating current (AC) through a transmitter coil which then passes on a voltage into the receiver coil of the device. This happens in a charging pad that must be availed and plugged in a power source and the phone placed – the pad acting like a stationery port where the phone is hooked in place.
While some phones won’t need any more wireless charging accessories, and others (carrier models only) come wireless charging-enabled right out the box, others like Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 smartphone require an additional wireless charging back cover. Wireless charging accessories, like the technology itself, are now being availed by multiple vendors.
New wireless charging technology can:
- Charge multiple devices full with a single charger
- Devices can charge without having to be in direct contact with the charging pad, just within the charging area
- Powerful, new wireless charging technology enables cordless charging across a room
- Wireless phone charging capabilities are being integrated with the workings of a select few phone processors such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor
The pressure point about wireless charging is the slow charge rate of 5 Watts, but things might change. Starting 2015, Freescale, an innovative phone charging technology firm plans to introduce new, faster, 15 Watts wireless chargers. Tablet computer users might finally be able to utilize the technology seeing the slow charging encountered at the moment makes it a major flop to charge larger devices.
Power Banks (Battery Packs)
A bulging number of phone and tech firms are selling new phones complete with extra batteries – power banks.
These are larger and will even charge the phone to full charge twice or so before needing a charge themselves. Power banks currently use USB Power Delivery technology to power up devices at the hour of need. Compatible devices are connected to the large, external battery via the USB port and pull in 100 watts at a time till the battery capacity is fully replenished. Check out what power banks look like by clicking here.
Recently in the news, a Tritium Reactor, itself a large, cylindrical, metal-clad battery charger, can power up multiple devices before running out of power. In fact it can even charge a notebook, smartphone, and tablet computer full, all three of them a couple of times over courtesy of the three USB Power Delivery technology ports and 290 watt-hour fast charging rate.
Fast Phone Charging
One premier innovation in phone charging technology only requires a smartphone plugged in a power source for just 15 minutes, and the device will charge up to 60% of battery capacity. The science backing this development might be sophisticated for explaining in one sitting, but simply put, the charging port of a compatible device helps pass a considerably high voltage while protecting the device from excessive power input. Otherwise the high voltage might destroy both the battery calibration system, lithium ions and the phone itself.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 smartphone uses this technology. User reviews conclude the technology is real. Charging a smartphone device in the car just to keep the conversation going now receives a major boost. Users in a hurry to leave for a meeting, or other important engagement can rest easy knowing their device will get them past their engagement before needing some time at a charging port.
University of Sheffield’s Spray-on Technology
He says the best certified inefficiencies recorded for organic solar cells read up to 10%. Their new innovation, Professor Lidzey explains, can sum up to as high as 19%, just 6% shy of the most preferred type – silicon at 25% efficiency.
Solar Charging Panels on Smartphone Screens
In 2013, a section of the media reported new-found Apple patents documents that were supposed to point to an advanced battery and phone charging technology that might meet mainstream development soon. The patents labeled under Apple’s name indicated that soon smartphones might utilize the large screens mounted on them to collect, bank or promptly use the solar energy to run programs.
The patent document reads in part that solar panels installed on phones would act as both “an integrated sensor and solar assembly”. Electrodes installed on device panels would act both as capacitive sensors and for collecting solar energy. This multitasking feature is being referred to as dual-mode: “Solar power/Optical mode” and “Capacitive sensing mode.”
Soon holding a smartphone out in broad daylight will power up the device a couple of minutes, if not hours longer.
Also noteworthy is the discharge technology most 2012 and newer smartphones have strapped on for protecting against overcharging. And with an increasing number of smartphone users swapping their internet dongles (modems) for smartphone USB tethering to share their mobile internet connection to larger computing devices, the need for protecting phones against the damage that constant charging might wreck sinks in.
These are just a tip of the innovations in phone charging technology iceberg. More power-saving means are being developed by the day and may as well be released for consumer electronics use. These include a super fast, 30-seconds zero to full charge technology that is currently being improved on, and slated for a full launch starting sometime in 2016.