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Is battery life holding back mobile technology?


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Mobile technology is advancing at a phenomenal pace. Phones are becoming almost integral to how we interact with the world around us, and there seems to be no signs of this slowing. At the recent Mobile World Conference, we saw mobiles with sapphire-hard screens, and ones that could be under water for up to two hours and still work, and smart watches: phones that aren’t even phones. Even mobile technology in cars that phones an ambulance when you’ve had a crash.

What all this underlines is that mobile technology is only going to become even more integrated with our day-to-day lives. There are even reports that in the foreseeable future, we will be using our phones to lock our doors. We can already pay using phones, soon we won’t need wallet or keys at all.

However, we have to look at the practicalities of having so much capability in one mobile device. These aren’t just phones: they are mini computers that have a lot of functionality but also require a lot of power. Phones used to last days on end without needing charging. Now two days of battery life is impressive.

Until battery life can keep up, one solution is to look at how we charge phones. McDonald’s is going to trial wireless charging in restaurants throughout Europe. You simply place the device on a mat and it charges while you eat. This is a great ploy to get customers into restaurants: how often have you had a dead mobile and no way of contacting anyone? In that situation, I would happily pay the price of a coffee to get back online.

It goes without saying that mobile technology has changed, and will continue to change, the way we live. Innovation shows no sign of stopping, with trials for 5G technology already being carried out in Japan. But for users, these advances may not be viable options if battery technology doesn’t keep pace.



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