Author(s): Peter Bryer
The growing number of antennas and sensors in mobile devices means that battery life has become a key selling point, with some top brands highlighting extended power in marketing campaigns (see Daily Insight: Samsung's Power Play).
The technology behind lithium-ion batteries has seen evolutionary improvements, but research is underway to propel the basics forward. Several companies are developing solid-state batteries, replacing the liquid electrolyte with solid, non-flammable materials. This would result in denser power packs that require less space for safety systems. It could enable more compact mobile devices and greater flexibility in design.
There have been many false starts and exaggerated claims about battery developments, but there's real hope that solid-state versions are coming closer to commercialisation.
UK-based Dyson has announced a development deal with Sakti3, an encouraging start-up working on new battery technologies. Dyson will invest $15 million into Sakti3 as part of the agreement. Specific products and shipment dates haven't been mentioned, but we expect Dyson will first aim to introduce a longer-lasting battery powered vacuum cleaner.
The applications for batteries that leapfrog present-day technologies span across industries. Makers of anything from cars to appliances are looking for better batteries: models that are lighter, cheaper, safer and longer-lasting. Power management and charging have become key issues in the mobile industry as component suppliers market greater efficiency and wireless charging solutions. Smartphone functions have grown exponentially, but battery technology hasn't. This could be a solid lead for a future generation of devices.