5 battery life technologies currently under development that bring hope to wall-huggers

5 battery life technologies currently under development that bring hope to wall-huggers
In the past few years, a large segment of modern smartphone users started pointing out to battery life as one characteristic of their devices that they would like to be improved. 

When you think about the tremendous progress that the smartphone market went to over the past few years, it's easy to see that  battery life isn't the area of exponential advances. While our smartphones got faster, slimmer, and integrated more processing power, it looks like manufacturers are struggling with increasing the autonomy of our phones.

Fortunately, parts the industry are now fully aware that users value the autonomy of their handsets, or, in other words, that there's a lot of money to be won. As such, the potential for advancements in this field is currently at its fullest.

In what follows, we will take a look at some of the most interesting technologies that could lead to significant advancements in terms of battery life.


We'll start off with something that isn't directly connected to the battery technology. A team of researchers conducted a study to find out how much power Android smartphones consume when the screen is off, and their findings show that background processes account for about 45.9 percent of a phone's power consumption. Apparently, much of this power is unnecessarily used up by faulty software.

The team, a joint collaboration between Purdue University, Intel Corp. and startup company Mobile Enerlytic, has developed an app that closely monitors the background activities in Android and prioritizes user-favorite software. Apps that are not used regularly are prevented from taking up to much CPU time when the screen is off.

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The app that came out of this research is intuitively called Hush, and its creators say that it can currently reduce the daily power consumption by about 16 percent. That may not sound like much, but we have to bear in mind that this is an instant gain served through software, not a hardware-based advancement. Furthermore, the team behind Hush also says that it plans to further optimize Hush with the end-goal to improve double the battery life of a the average Android smartphone.

If this seems like an app that you'd try, check out this GitHub link to download Hush.


If you've ever owned a phone for more than a year, you've probably noticed that the internal storage doesn't age very well. The problem with NAND flash memory storage is that each tiny data block can only be rewritten a limited number of times before it loses its electromagnetic properties. In other words, flash storage decays as the operating system writes more data.

Fortunately, a team of researchers from the Hanyang University in South Korea has found a way to reduce the aging of the internal storage. By optimizing the SQLite database IO system used by the Android stack, the team has been able to reduce the total volume of written data to about 1/6 of the original size. The direct consequence of this reduced data volume is that Android phones would be able to operate faster when writing data to the internal storage. 

In the context of this article, however, we're particularly interested in the fact that this technology could extend the battery life of the average Android smartphone by up to 39 percent. 

Check out this paper for more info on the WALDIO technology.

Pure lithium anodes

Back in 2014, researchers from Standford Univeristy announced that they've found a way to improve the current-generation lithium ion batteries in our mobile devices. By creating a denser lithium for the battery anode, the researchers have created a battery pack that can last longer on a charge while also being slower to decay compared to regular lithium ion batteries.

The team, led by former US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, says that this technology could triple the battery life of a smartphone. How's that for improvement?

Make sure to read this Nature article for more details on how these pure lithium anodes can improve battery life

RF-DC convertors

Although we can't see them, the space around us is often home to numerous types of radio waves. Cell towers emit them, Wi-Fi routers emit them, even Bluetooth devices do the same. While not all radio frequencies are created equal when it comes to the energy they contain, our phones are usually surrounded by these small pockets of energy.

A team of researchers from the Ohio State University has found a way to charge a phone by harvesting the radio frequencies (RF) surrounding it and then converting this energy into DC current. At the moment, products such as Nikola's iPhone case are only capable of (very) slowly charging a smartphone, but it's the ingenuity of the approach that's of interest to us, not its current implementation.

Although wireless charging really took off in the high-end segment of the Android smartphone market in the past couple of years, this emerging technology appears to add a level of mobility that we could have only dreamed about in the past.

Hydrogen fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel cells have long been touted as the Holy Grail of battery technology, but so far, the technology has been unstable enough to reach end users. Fortunately, however, it looks like it won't be long before the electricity-creating reaction between hydrogen and oxygen will be used to power our smartphones. 

According to a report from The Telegraph, Intelligent Energy, a British technology company, has been able to create a hydrogen fuel cell that fits inside an iPhone and that can power up the device for up to a week on a single charge. The report says that the company was able to integrate such a fuel cell inside the body of an iPhone 6, and this without removing the phone's lithium ion battery. 

Allegedly, users will recharge the hydrogen fuel cell in the consumer product by sliding in a disposable cartridge into the bottom of the smartphone, and each cartridge will be able to power a smartphone for a week of normal use.

Head on to The Telegraph's report for more details on the early iPhone 6 hydrogen fuel cell prototype.

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