Please Connect Your Charger
How many of you have this experience with your phone? Every day at about 2:30 p.m., I check the power on my phone. Eighty percent. Awesome… I’ll be able to make it to the end of the day. But by 3 p.m, my Droid X is beeping at me to be plugged in. Of course, I’ve checked all the normal stuff. Social media updates… pull only. Weather Bug… unistalled. Random background processes… removed. Screen brightness… very dim. Automatic downloads… Just Say No! I’m sure that there is some technical issue going on. But let’s be honest; sometimes you want to know how the clock is built. Most of the time, you just want to know what time it is. When it comes to battery life, we just want the darn thing to work.
So it was with hopeful optimism that I read a CNET article this week about the improvements in smartphone battery life. Let’s start with the obvious. Currently, if you need more battery life, get a bigger battery. For example, Apple devices are able to get a greater yield because they use an embedded (i.e., nonremovable) design. The batteries can be designed around the phone “guts” and require less packaging. Both characteristics provide more options to increase the battery size.
A fundamental change of the battery structure is required to produce significant improvements, however. Unfortunately, a battery is a relatively simple construct, and assuming you don’t want the battery to spontaneously erupt, there are only so many chemicals you can use to build one. Incremental improvements will occur by changing the stuff inside the battery. Many researchers champion the use of silicon as an anode material. The team at Stanford University claim that their prototypes last for 6,000 charging cycles before replacement is needed (as compared to 350-500 charging cycles for conventional lithium ion batteries). Of course, the silicon anode tends to expand and crack while in use. Don’t worry… they are working on that.
A more fundamental change is to ditch the conventional design altogether. One method promoted by startup Prieto Battery eliminates the liquid electrolyte and uses an electroplating process to coat nanowires with a layering of materials to serve as the anode, cathode and electrolyte. The greater surface area and shorter distance between components allow for astonishing charge times, as little as five minutes for a full charge. The battery should last for about 10 hours on a full charge. Very cool, indeed.
We’re probably 2-3 years before any of these ideas hit the market. In the meantime, don’t forget your charger.
Will Work for Capital — This past week, a group of Augusta entrepreneurs completed their participation in CapVenture. CapVenture is a six-week training series sponsored by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) to help startup business leaders identify and raise the capital needed to get their enterprise off the ground. As part of the series, participants actively participate in the venture capital process by building term sheets and pitching to a set of experienced entrepreneurs. The top pitches are selected to present at the September 12 finale. Sadly, no Augusta participant was selected; however, the finale is open to all to attend. Register at tagonline.org.
We all need to give a big thanks to Carolyn Newsome of CMA Technology for stepping up and making this happen for the TAG-Augusta chapter. Augusta could not have participated in this event without her efforts.
And, yes, the countdown to the iPhone 5 continues. More next week.
Until next time, I’m off the grid @gregory_a_baker.You Might Also Like: