For years, I’ve been saying that battery life is the Achilles heal of mobile computing. This has largely been true as device features and capabilities have accelerated faster than the battery technologies that make them all work. This is a problem we all can relate to.
The truth is, a variety of inexorably-linked factors have have combined to challenge our batteries:
- The daily time spend on our mobile devices has increased dramatically
- Device displays have gotten bigger, brighter and higher in resolution
- Increased adoption of activities that use the screen, faster and more power-hungry device processors, the cellular antenna and more. These activities include use of the browser, email, apps, games, downloads, video streaming, music playback, etc. And don’t forget phone calls, despite the fact that users are using more data and less voice than ever before.
This combination of increased sessions time and overall daily use of battery-intensive activities has us all competing for access to the nearest a/c outlet at the airport, business conference bar or you name it.
I’m hoping that battery technology will evolve faster than it has. Our daily use of our mobile devices is still increasing and the arms race for increased speed and screen brightness/resolution shows no sign of abating. Either the devices will have to become much more power efficient or battery tech will have to improve dramatically. Ideally, both will improve.
Many have pointed to hydrogen cell batteries as the solution for mobile device power. Here’s a link to an interesting piece on Gigaom about 13 Battery Startups to Watch in 2013. Some of these are focused on the larger scale applications (power grid, electric cars) while others are focused on portable applications. I hope there are some winners in here.