As smartphones morph into phablets, and their features and functions expand to include everything from high performance gaming to HD and 3D video playback, they all face a common problem – battery life. Every advance in battery technology (and there have been many) has ultimately been undone by the accompanying advances and upgrades in the very devices they power. Even the most successful recent premium phablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the iPhone 6S, have unsuccessfully wrestled with the problems of battery life and the time it takes for users to fully recharge their devices. But that is all about to change. StoreDot, an Israeli nanotechnology company, has been developing a new battery charging technology that it claims can power up a dead mobile in less than two minutes.
StoreDot took to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show to unveil their next generation batteries and battery charging technology. Representatives demonstrated two new batteries based on ‘nanodot’ technology that it hopes will eventually replace the long standing lithium-ion battery. The first demonstration involved a 900 mAh battery which was able to fully charge a Samsung smartphone from zero to full in a matter of 30 seconds. A further demonstration, involving a 2000 mAh battery, went from zero to full in just less than three minutes. The 2000 mAh battery, however, is still in the working stages, as it is too large to fit a standard handset. StoreDot hopes to rectify the size issue of the higher capacity battery before going to market in 2017.
Supercharged Organic Technology
StoreDot’s breakthrough lies in the design of a completely new type of battery. Using specially synthesized organic molecules, measuring less than 2 nanometres across, StoreDot is able to increase the electrode capacitance of their new batteries. These newly discovered materials make it possible to create next generation batteries and super capacitors that can take a full charge in minutes as opposed to hours. As Doron Myersdorf, Chief Exec for StoreDot, recently told the BBC, “We have reactions in the battery that are non-traditional reactions that allow us to charge very fast, moving ions from an anode to a cathode at a speed that was not possible before we had these materials.”
However, there are some drawbacks to the new technology. Because StoreDot uses an entirely new type of battery, the fast charging feature can not be retrofitted to existing devices. The majority of existing smartphones and phablets would be unable to survive the 40 amps of electricity the StoreDot charger delivers. The fast charging technology would, in effect, fry the device.
More Work to Be Done
StoreDot’s new technology is certainly impressive, but even Mr. Myersdorf acknowledges that there is more work to be done. Currently, the firm’s prototypes can not match the energy density of existing lithium-ion batteries and still meet the necessary size restrictions. The handset that was demonstrated at CES 2015 was powered by a 900 mAh battery, which was small enough to fit a standard smartphone handset. Ultimately, it would need to be charged several times a day. Granted, the charge time is greatly reduced, but the capacity o f the battery is still wanting. The goal is to produce a 2000 mAh that is small enough to meet the necessary size requirements. While StoreDot was able to demonstrate a 2000 mAh battery at CES this year, it required a specially constructed handset that was 5mm thinker than a standard device. StoreDot’s ultimate goal is to have a 2000 mAh battery that meets size as well as storage needs, by 2017.
StoreDot has already garnered interest from a number of phone manufacturers in the US, China, and Japan. They hope to have their new battery technology installed in new smartphones by 2017. That being said, they do face some competition from other firms working on their own fast charging technology, and in many ways it will be a race to see who crossed the finishing line first. But for consumers who have been waiting for a fast charging, long lasting, smartphone battery, the future looks very bright indeed.