Skip to main content

New Technology Could Double Smartphone Battery Life

A team of researchers at a startup called Eta Devices have purportedly found a way to reduce smartphone battery consumption by half.

A power amplifier is one of the more wasteful power consumption components of a smartphone's battery. It's a chip that's utilized to convert electricity into radio signals, as well as to maintain a device's connection to a wireless network.

Power amplifiers waste around 65 percent of a handset's battery power and also cause a smartphone to heat up when a user streams a video or uploads large files.

Eta Devices, however, has redesigned the power amplifier by making use of technology dubbed "asymmetric multilevel outphasing". It selects the minimum voltage required to maintain a connection, and updates around 20 million times per second in order to deliver the highest efficiency.

The group behind the firm is currently developing the new power amplifier technology for cellular base stations, which also suffer from similar power consumption issues. The new chips are scheduled to be shipped sometime during 2013.

The startup firm said its plans for creating a single power amplifier chip could lead an energy efficiency revolution on smartphones. The technology behind the new power amplifiers would ensure smartphone batteries would last twice as long as they normally would. The chip would also make it possible to implement the amplifier in CPU and display technologies.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

  • derekullo
    Old Technology Could Halve Smartphone Battery Life
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    As far as i know, a battery could fuel a Laptop for a month with todays top notch technology. Its just too expensive, and the probability of failure is higher, so that "1 year warranty" would increase costs for companies.

    Its a bit sad, since having a "mobile device" is little to no use if you must have a power source each 10 hours of use.
    Reply
  • techcurious
    I am not convinced by 50% savings claim.. that is if everything else in the smartphone is the same except that.. unless they are talking about stand-by time or talk time while the screen is off..
    It is my assumption that during active use, the Screen is one of the bigger power drains on a smartphone. So between the screen, the processor, memory and the Power Amplifier, the power amplifier uses the lions share of your battery at about 65%? If that were the case, then why did older phones from 6 years ago that also had WiFi etc last at least 3 times longer than current smart phones?
    My assumptions could be wrong of course..
    Oh, unless they are also planning to combine the inevitable improvements in screen, processor and memory power efficiencies, in 12 months, with the improvements they offer and then say "See! We were right, your phone now lasts twice as long!"
    Reply
  • abbadon_34
    I'm glad I sat through that HP battery video from a few months back, that battery life is constrained more by consumer preference and product liability than anything else. We have the tech for a laptop battery to running a power hungry game like BF3 for over 24 hours but "practical" constraints limits a gain of 10% per year. Apple (device must be pretty) + US Trial Lawyers (one mistake you're out of businesss) = Poor Battery Life.

    edit: "US" Trial Lawyers
    Reply
  • Thomas Creel
    Will we see anything similar in laptops?
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    an ideal battery length should be 24hours .Since we human will always go to bed every 18hours.
    Reply
  • techcurious
    Tomfreakan ideal battery length should be 24hours .Since we human will always go to bed every 18hours.When they develop a battery that could last 24 hours, they won't equip your laptop with it. Instead they will use a battery half it's size and you end up with under 12 hours of use.
    Their logic is that any excess battery size and weight (and cost) that is not used by the majority most of the time is a waste, and they would rather keep costs, size and weight of their final products down. Also, reducing the capacity by 50% would also reduce the charging time by about 30% or more..
    Same thing applies to smartphones..
    But I think that although they shouldn't change this attitude for all models (so people have choice), the majority of smartphones now (and for the last 2 years) can afford to be a bit thicker to accommodate bigger batteries to give a full day of active use.
    Lighter and slimmer should be an option, but not the default across the board.
    That way if you really don't use your laptop for more than a couple of hours a day, why shlep around an extra pound of weight that gives you 12 hours or more of extra and unneeded battery time?
    I would like a 12 hour laptop and a 24 hour heavy use smartphone.
    Reply
  • CrArC
    techcuriousI am not convinced by 50% savings claim.. that is if everything else in the smartphone is the same except that.. unless they are talking about stand-by time or talk time while the screen is off.. They are indeed on about standby time. The screen, and the CPU/GPU combination required to drive it (especially these newer super-res devices) drink battery life in comparison to a little radio. You wouldn't really notice the difference in battery life if comparing while the phone is being used.

    However, it's still important, and double-life is not an outlandish claim. I can already double the battery life of my phone by installing an app that manages radio use better (Wifi, 3G, etc) when I am not using the phone. And it really is double

    Unfortunately this comes at the cost of response time (as the various radios must fire up occasionally to check for messages/data and also fire up when try to use the phone), whereas the technology that this article describes would allow the radio to remain active and respond immediately with similar results on battery life.

    Having said that, we're only talking a few seconds for my phone to wake up the radio gear at present. It's not that big a trade-off for twice the battery life, tbh. Obviously the phone also drains at the normal rate when being used, but that's the thing - most of the time, your phone is not being used, so there are big savings to be made.
    Reply
  • icemunk
    So many cynical posters... If you haven't noticed, battery life for laptops has increased substantially in the last few years. Rememeber the 1.5 hour laptop battery life just two or three years back? Now we can get 4-5 hours, and efficiency is increasing at a staggering rate these days.
    Reply
  • techcurious
    icemunkSo many cynical posters... If you haven't noticed, battery life for laptops has increased substantially in the last few years. Rememeber the 1.5 hour laptop battery life just two or three years back? Now we can get 4-5 hours, and efficiency is increasing at a staggering rate these days.we got a little off topic with laptops, as this article was talking about smartphones.. and smartphone battery life is still quite low.. no one said laptop batteries haven't improved (even 9 hours with some ultrabooks).. but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand..
    Reply