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No new battery technology anytime soon

by on27 February 2014

We are stuck with Li-Ion and Li-Polymer

For more than seven years now we’ve been asking a simple question at every major tradeshow we attend. When can we see a new battery technology that will solve the problem faced by most smart devices, that usually can’t hold a charge for more than a day?

With the introduction of the original iPhone in 2007 we practically entered the era of having to charge our phones more than once a day. Standardized microUSB chargers help, while some users rely on user replaceable batteries. The solution might be a new battery and we are aware that a few years back Intel proposed a fuel cell based battery, a standard that never lived to see the day of light, at least it never became popular due to a number of reasons.

Back at Mobile World Congress we asked the EVP of Qualcomm Rob Chandhok about the new batteries. Rob is the Senior Vice President at Qualcomm Technologies and President, Qualcomm Interactive Platforms and a key person for wearables and AllJoyn standard.

The answer was simple, nothing new is coming in the short term. We got the same answer from some key Intel and AMD people when asked the same question. Rob Chandhok did mention that every chip that gets designed in Qualcomm was designed with power in mind. Rob pointed out that Qualcomm Toq watch has a 240mAh battery and that in his case, it can last cope with five days of “his use”.

Naturally shrinking to 20nm and later to 14nm we will get chips that will be more powerful and will consume even less power, but in the short term there are no new battery technologies that will be lighter than Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer that we see in almost any rechargeable device today.

The key for the near future, a few more years are chips that are more power efficient, better instructions per clock at the given manufacturing technology and rapid shrinking of transistor size. One should understand that 14nm transistors should need less power than 20 or 22nm transistors in a chip given that they are doing the same job.

As a diversion from the real problem the industry has offered two groundbreaking technologies. We will see more curved displays and higher resolution what goes by the 4K mobile or UHD mobile, but in reality it’s is 2650x1600 resolution for mobile. (Utterly pointless. Ed)

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