How many times have you heard the dreaded low battery tone on your mobile phone when you least wanted it? Nowadays mobile phones are coming crammed up with more technology than ever before. The progress being made in this field is staggering with phones touting 5 megapixel cameras and some even having xenon flash modules. If I told you this just a few years ago, you’d think I’m describing a new standalone camera model. This certainly is a great time to be a mobile phone enthusiast.
But unfortunately like all things in the world, all’s not fun and roses. There is a downside. The technology that is behind powering our mobile phones is not keeping pace. It just can’t. I was just reading a few days ago that some lithium batteries these days are required to store the energy in such minute spaces that they have the same energy densities as hand grenades!
The lack of up time in today’s mobile phones makes itself evident in many aspects of our life. Want to browse the internet at your favorite café and listen to some music? Well you have only a little over two hours to do it. Add in the time you need to use your phone for other unimportant things like making phone calls for example, and you have a phone that’s on the charger more often than you’d like.
The chargers are always restricting due to their design. They prevent the freedom of movement that is afforded by going the mobile phone route in the first place. You can have one at your home, one at your office, one in your car and one you carry around to plug in at any unsuspecting restaurant to leech some juice but by then I’d hardly call your phone ‘mobile’. Krazykitter has been conducting a Nseries Proporta Power Challenge to see if he can get by using just the mobile ‘on the move’ charging solution, but clearly he too is having a tough time.
To summarize we have a two fold problem:
1. Features being added to phones are increasing at a high pace.
2. Battery capacity is not following the same curve. On the contrary, it appears we are near the ceiling of mobile battery energy density using the current materials (lithium, etc.)
Keeping in mind all of these problems experienced by us these days, there may be a solution we can use to rid ourselves of these problems or negate them somewhat.
I want you to think about the Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte. One of the unique things included in the package is an extra battery. Keep it a convenient place and swap it out when in need. Good idea but let’s take this a bit further…
How about providing the consumers with an external battery charger so that you don’t need a phone or expensive accessories (if that’s even possible) to charge a dead battery without inserting it into your phone and taking out a battery that’s still good for the next day. So, with the external chargers you charge a dead battery and keep it in the charger till it is needed. When you need it, open the back of your phone after turning it off, do a quick switch and you’re on your merry way again. This appears to make charging less restricting and more natural. Dead battery? Swap and forget. Swap and forget!
But wait there’s a problem! How can a company expect consumers to open the back of their phones about four to five times a week. Maybe it IS better than being chained to a charger but consumers don’t like the hassle and think that it’s a crude way to charge your phone and buy a competitors product which may offer no innovation, uh oh!
How about we allow the battery to be taken out just like a memory card? That would work but then you would need to implement a whole new “remove battery” procedure and you can’t expect consumers to not remove something that’s so easily removable while the phone is on.
You can see we’re progressively working towards a practical (in my opinion anyway) solution here. Capacitors. Small cylinders that hold charge for an even smaller amount of time. They may be the answer. Add capacitors to a phone so that it can stay on for about 5 to 10 seconds after the battery has been taken out so that a new one can be popped in with no disruption at all!
Just imagine. Your N-something pestering you with the low battery alerts but you need to go out NOW? Simple, take the charged battery out of its charger, open the hatch, pull out the battery, swap with the charged battery and close the hatch. Now you can just slide the drained battery into the charger to sit there and charge and its (and yours) leisure.
As always, feedback is welcome. Like the idea? Tell us! Hate it? I’m even more eager to hear your view then.