I have always been a bit baffled by battery technology in smartphones. While batteries do last longer now than they did 4 or 5 years ago, it's one of those things that I thought would be leagues better by now.
To be fair, battery technology has advanced quite a bit – but so did smartphone performance, screen real estate, and the demand to have the thinnest smartphone around. With all of these additional factors, improved battery life has moved only at a marginal pace; the only way to get longer battery life out of a typical lithium-ion battery is to produce larger batteries, which would in turn require thicker devices, which apparently nobody wants to buy (although I beg to differ).
While I'm grateful for the fact that I’m no longer a wall hugger that needs to charge my phone every 2-3 hours, I wouldn’t say I’m thrilled that I still have my days where my phone won't last from unplugging when I wake up until plugging in when I go to bed. This isn’t necessarily the case with all phones, but it is with a good number of them.
I’m also grateful for technology like Quick Charge and Extreme Power Saving Mode, but I guess I had just hoped by now that we would have phones that lasted two or three days – with full use and no worries - before dying.
But just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean that hope isn’t on the horizon. We’ve had numerous breakthroughs already concerning battery life, like Samsung’s graphene technology for lithium-ion batteries and, most recently, their showcase of the so-called “stripe” batteries.
Stripe batteries look to be extremely compact, flexible, and ribbon-like. The stripe battery can “… bend and conform freely as a fiber and is equipped with innovative energy density,” according to Samsung. The purpose behind these batteries is to get them to fit in places where normal batteries would never be able to fit, therefore extending battery life up to 50% in some mobile devices.
Clearly the idea behind these stripe batteries, at least from the get-go, is to enhance the battery life of mobile products like smartwatches and other wearables. However, I noticed in the image above that there is a display showing how the ribbon could fit inside what looks to be a smartphone bumper, so I would think that these would also be suitable for smartphones as well.
With smartphone manufacturers continuously trying to make lighter, thinner devices, these batteries would do away with the need to make a larger phone for better battery life. Although Samsung has already said that their stripe batteries alone are not sufficient enough to power a smartphone, perhaps there’s a way to include them alongside a typical lithium-ion battery for additional power.
With all of that being said, the stripe battery is still reportedly in “prototype” phase – which means it will probably be long forgotten by the time we hear about this actually being put into production again, like most “breakthrough” technology we hear about regarding smartphone battery life. Still, it is good to know that manufacturers are actually working on new, physical ways to improve battery life.
And until these new methods are perfected, I still feel like people wouldn’t really complain if a phone was a couple of grams heavier if it meant they didn’t have to sacrifice battery life.
Readers, what are your thoughts on the state of battery life in the smartphone industry? Are solutions like Quick Charge technology and power saving modes enough for you, or would you prefer those solutions alongside an actual longer lasting battery?