While mobile phones are becoming ever smarter, the batteries that power them are not. While this looks unlikely to change any day soon, new technologies to be unveiled at next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona could soon take some of the stress out of recharging.
Those halcyon days, when phones were only used for placing calls and sending texts and their batteries lasted for more than a week, are gone. New smartphones allow us to stay in touch with work and friends, contain boarding passes and train tickets and are likely to become debit and credit cards in the near future, but they sport batteries that fade within hours.
Duracell, famed as the company of choice for powering small toy rabbits and part of Procter & Gamble Co, has been in the battery business for almost a century. Its President Stassi Anastassov says the main stumbling block to extending battery life is size.
There is too little space for the battery in smartphones, he said.”Consumers wants slim phones and the consumer is king.”
The main reason tablets have a longer working life is that there is enough space for a powerful battery, he explains. But Duracell is working on a novel option to improve the customer experience. In September, Duracell joined forces U.S.-Israeli company Powermat Ltd. Their joint venture, Duracell Powermat, is producing ultra thin recharging mats. Duracell plans to equip public places as well as cars, homes and offices with the special surfaces, allowing mobile phones to charge wirelessly by simply placing them on the wired mat.
The firm has ambitious plans:”We start in New York and in five years we want to be everywhere,” Powermat Chief Executive Ran Poliakine said. It plans a launch in the U.S. this summer and has intends to equip the indoor sports arena at New York’s Madison Square Garden so New York Knicks fans “have the opportunity to charge their smartphones while they cheer for their favorite basketball team.”