Yesterday Qualcomm made several important announcements around their Snapdragon chip lineup and with the introduction of Quick Charge 3.0. The latest update to the rapid charging solution, which will be available in the new lineup of Snapdragon processors, is said to give users up to 70% of their battery life back in under 30 minutes of charging time. It is an impressive 38% efficiency increase over the Quick Charge 2.0 standard and with ever power hungry devices in our hands and pockets, is certainly to be a welcome addition.
The problem however is that Quick Charge in general masks a bigger problem within mobile tech which is the desperate need for newer, more advanced battery technology. Fundamentally, while battery life has improved and batteries have become more efficient, they remain the single largest problem facing mobile technology use which in my mind makes it just as important as being able to quickly charge devices.
The Holy Grail for mobile devices is being able to get a mobile device battery to make it through at day. To meet that objective, OEMs have become increasingly savvy about the software running on their devices to improve battery efficiency. When you compare for example the battery management in Android KitKat to Android Lollipop, the changes Google has made in the OS are noticeable.
Secondly, along with those software improvements, to reach a full day of life, batteries have become increasingly larger in capacity. That, in turn, has increased the size and weight of devices. Seemingly we have reached a point where a 5″ device is the happy middle for everyone not necessarily because everyone wants a 5″ display but they need the better battery life that comes with that 5″ display. Or 5.5″ display. Or 6″ display. The irony of course is that these larger displays consume more battery power. So it is a vicious circle.
The goal however remains the same. Manufactures are expected to achieve all day use from a mobile device which leads to compromises. Last week Apple announced the iPhone 6S and was lampooned to a large extent because their “all day battery life” is 10 hours. They missed the mark but compromised because of the ultra thin design of the device. Other OEMs compromise in other ways including less powerful chipsets or throttled chipsets, or leave out functionality like NFC.
I have said for many years now that in order for mobile technology to truly advance, battery life needs to make a quantum leap forward. We can no longer just shove bigger and bigger batteries into devices and then in turn have them grow in size to accommodate those batteries. There needs to be the development of new technologies which can bring longer battery life in a small package. It is something that the likes of Tesla or Google (or a combination of the two) could solve.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy to see technologies like Quick Charge 3.0 hit the market because it will help the situation but it also masks the larger problem. That larger problem is that we need improved battery technology at the core so services like Quick Charge could be even more efficient.