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Startup promises to half smartphone power usage, prepares solution for MWC 2013

Posted: , by Victor H.

Startup promises to half smartphone power usage, prepares solution for MWC 2013
Smartphones have been all the rage in the past years lifting technology companies to the top even above oil giants, but one thing that has been slowing down the industry is sub-par battery performance. That problem might have finally been cracked.

A group of MIT engineers spun out into a separate company called Eta Devices, and they claim they have found the recipe for long battery life and that’s a more efficient power amplifier.

Joel Dawson and David Perreault are currently working on the technology in the lab, but the plan is to make it commercial in 2013. The promise is big - battery performance on smartphones could double and LTE base stations might also slash their power footprint by half.

“There really has been no significant advance in this area for years. If you get 30 to 35 percent efficiency with today’s amplifiers, you are doing really well. But they can more than double that,” comments Vanu Bose from wireless tech startup Vanu.

Power amplifiers are built using transistors that basically have a standby and output modes. Efficiency cuts can happen only if you minimize standby power, and to do this Eta has created an electronic gearbox. It picks the minimum appropriate voltage as many as 20 million times each second. Such an approach tackles both the scenario when you send and receive data.

On smartphones, this could result in a single power amplifier regulating what CDMA, GSM and LTE use. In contrast, the current iPhone 5 uses five such amplifiers.

We are first to see Eta’s product at Mobile World Congress this February in Barcelona.

source: Technology Review

Startup promises to half smartphone power usage, prepares solution for MWC 2013

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posted on 01 Nov 2012, 08:07 13

1. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

......to be bought by apple within 6 months.

i really hope not. i'd love to buy a phone with really double or triple battery life of my gnex at the end of '13.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 08:09 14

2. lyndon420 (Posts: 4953; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Hopefully they patent the hell out of it before apple claims it's theirs.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 08:16 6

3. young0ne (Posts: 32; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)

Sorry but this is going to be an industry standard. So no patents on that for apple or any other OME manufacture. and anyway its own by MIT I don't think they are going to sale it. they'll get more money by keeping it.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 08:39 9

5. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

this definitely sounds like a patentable idea. and its owned by a private group of MIT engineers, not MIT directly. everyone has a price and apple can afford nearly any of those prices.

i certainly hope apple stays out of this, but you're being naive if you think its outside the realm of possibility.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 18:21 1

12. dmckay12 (Posts: 243; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)

You are so right. I hate Toyota Prii (Prius) and most apple products, but if apple wanted m to drive around in a Prius ant tell people how awesome the iPhone was, they could do it.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 08:27 3

4. Cyan3boN (Posts: 446; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

much needed innovation before we lose the lithium ion batteries completely and move towards something slm, less weight still packs the power of 10 li-on batteries. and at the same time leaving a very small carbon footprint.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 09:07 1

6. palmguy (Posts: 657; Member since: 22 Mar 2011)

What ever happened to using Lithium Polymer batteries? I thought they were better.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 09:19

7. jackhuny (Posts: 10; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)

Double the current battery life just isn't enough to call it a solution. Razr Maxx doubles the battery life, but still not a ideal solution to the battery crisis.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 09:21 3

8. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)

I can use my nokia 3310 for the next century and the battery won't die

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 09:44

9. TheMan (Posts: 493; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

I really hope it's soon, but "making it commercial" in 2013 means generating revenue. Manufacturers will test the hell out it and that'll take time. If this company is successful 2014 is likely is the earliest MWC we'd see phones loaded with these batteries.

Japan and others toss out patent applications if an item is already being pitched for sale. (The U.S. gives you one year after launch, btw) so patents will be in place to protect the investors beforehand.

And even with the concept patented, Apple can still acquire the company to get control of the patent.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 11:02

10. ibap (Posts: 780; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)


posted on 01 Nov 2012, 16:50

11. Stuntman (Posts: 836; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)

Now companies can finally bring to market those cell phone features that use twice as much power and customers will be back where they started.

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