I don’t know how many times I have expelled my frustrations about this topic via the internet, but here I go again. Why, despite the amazing technological innovations and advancements that we have been consistently seeing, are we still not “getting it” when it comes to battery life? The benefits of having a smartphone are endless, but the woes involve the dreaded low battery alert warning sign that happens after just hours of use. There’s many products out there for enhancing battery life. There’s even special docks that sit in the middle of your house and will charge the devices all around your home (I want one of those). But with smartphones in particular, the main choices we’ve got include our portable charger, housing the smartphone in a bulky battery case, or finding the rare opportunity of a community charging dock somewhere in public (Starbucks, the airport, etc).
In efforts to alleviate this 21st century hardship, UK-based Intelligent Energy has been taking strides to make smartphone battery technology more beneficial for all of us. By utilizing an embedded hydrogen fuel cell, the company claims smartphones could soon be powered for up to 7 whole days. There is already a smartphone OEM ready to take on the fuel cell technology. Although unnamed, and newly emerging into the market, the entity has already backed Intelligent Energy via a 7.6 billion dollar investment towards the product (The Register).
Here’s how it is supposed to work. Utilizing a chemical reaction between a hydrogen and oxygen bond, electricity is generated into electrical currents with water, comparable to that of a hydrogen car, inside the fuel cell. The obvious concern would be the involvement of water, however this is addressed by exhausting the waste water out of a venting system. Besides these tiny vents used to release the water, the cell is expected to be thin enough to not interfere with the device’s chassis, and will rather become an integrated component of the original battery.
Since battery innovation hasn’t been keeping up with the times, it is believed that “embedded fuel cell technology in portable devices provides a solution to the current dilemma of consumers demanding more and more from their phones”, says Intelligent Energy’s Julian Hughes. Lastly, the technology should be happening quickly. According to Digital Trends, multiple sources are saying Intelligent Energy has “pretty much nailed the technology”, are “in the process of refining it prior to commercialization”, and could be rolling out into smartphones within two year’s time.
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