Battery life is a major pain point of today's mobile electronic devices. Huawei has cooked up a new way to charge batteries, however, that could revolutionize how we use smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other battery-powered hardware.
The average smartphone provides about one day of battery life. There are exceptions in both directions, of course. Some handsets struggle to reach the end of the work day, while others will continue working through a second day. Total battery life will matter a lot less if you can charge your phone in five or ten minutes, which is what Huawei says it can do.
Huawei's researchers recently showcased new technology at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan that can deliver a charge up to 10 times faster than what's available today.
Specifically, Huawei claims it "bonded heteroatoms to the molecule of graphite in anode, which could be a catalyst for the capture and transmission of lithium through carbon bonds. The heteroatoms increase the charging speed of batteries without decreasing energy density or battery life."
In demonstrations, Huawei charged a 600 mAh lithium-ion battery from 0% to 68% capacity in just two minutes. It also charged a 3,000 mAh battery from 0% to 48% in five minutes. The ~1,500 mAh charge delivered to this second battery is enough to provide up to 10 hours of voice calls on Huawei handsets.
In these examples, the 600 mAh battery would be for a smaller device, such as a connected smartwatch, while the larger is more typical of a flagship smartphone.
Huawei isn't the only company hoping to charge up batteries swiftly.
Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon 820 processor, which touts QuickCharge 3.0 technology. Qualcomm says QuickCharge 3.0 is 38% more efficient than QuickCharge 2.0 and four times faster than conventional charging. Samsung has created similar rapid charging tech for smartphones using its own Exynos-branded processors. These methods generally give smartphone owners six to twelve hours of battery life in 15 to 30 minutes.
If phones are able to suck in a 50% charge in just five minutes, most people won't have to worry so much about battery life.
Huawei's Watt Lab is working with industry partners to "pursue a new energy era." The Watt Lab's focus is on forwarding the technology behind energy storage. Huawei did not say how rapidly it will be able to bring this quick-charging technology to real-world consumer products, although it does claim the tech has been certified by Huawei's terminal test department. (In this case, terminal = cellphone.)
"Huawei is confident that this breakthrough in quick charging batteries will lead to a new revolution in electronic devices, especially with regard to mobile phones, electric vehicles, wearable devices, and mobile power supplies," according to Huawei. "Soon, we will all be able to charge our batteries to full power in the time it takes to grab a coffee."
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