Anyone with a smartphone knows batteries haven’t advanced nearly as fast as the devices they power. Sure, they grow larger — often increasing with the size of the phone — but when every new OS update or hardware revision seems to halve your battery level, something has to change.
With wearables like Google Glass right around the corner (and getting a few battery life complaints of its own), the onus has shifted from the capabilities of the batteries themselves to the speed at which they charge. It’s a logical response to a serious question surrounding the wearable tech field as a whole. Companies can release a phone the size of a tablet in the name of a larger power pool, but it’s hard to scale up a device meant to fit on the user’s head.
Apps already account for most of the power-hogging software on smartphones. Throw wearables into the equation, with their visually heavy interfaces and think-fast processing requirements, and a whole new problem emerges. If your own work has the potential to bring a pair of Google Glasses to its power-draining knees, or if it wreaks havoc on the current iteration of mobile battery tech, products like the wireless charging MojoPad aren’t just cool toys, they’re potential lifesavers.
Creator, Mojo Mobility, currently offers a wireless pad that can simultaneously power or charge multiple electronic devices at different power or voltage levels. Designed for integration with power sources ranging from traditional outlets to car dashboards, the added “scalability” of MojoPad could be a game changer.
There’s no shortage of similar products. Tech toys like Energizer’s Qi, which puts a small inductive pad in a phone case, are potentially just as useful for wearables. Accessory maker, Mophie, offers products that place a spare battery in the device’s case. Users can then charge their phones and tablets on the go with the flip of a switch. Either technology, given a creative solution and a little time to implement it, could work wonders for the emerging wearables field.
Radio frequency (RF) charging, which has been under research by Nokia since 2009, uses radio waves to power mobile devices, giving users a totally wireless solution. Though still in the experimental stages, it’s another sign of what batteries may be able to do in the future. If you’ve ever mistakenly left your cords and plugs behind at home, you know exactly how useful this tech can be.
Eesha Khare may look like your typical teenage girl, but don’t let appearances fool you. Earlier this year, the 18-year-old-science student created a so-called supercharger that can power most devices in 20 to 30 seconds. It’s an interesting idea made even more amazing by its size. The tiny tool slides right into an existing mobile device, eliminating the battery tech issues before they have a chance to surface. Like RF charging, implementation may be a way off, but the potential is certainly there.
Whatever happens with the batteries behind our smartphones and wearables, it’s clear our power sources are about to improve. For developers, that’s an exciting prospect indeed. There’s no need to worry about your app pulling too much power when charging is done via an inductive pad, radio waves or a high-speed attachment. Whether you hold a personal or professional interest in the field, get ready, because chargers are about to re-energize mobility as we know it.