Batteries – The Final Frontier
September 9, 2010 2 Comments
Sitting at the gate, waiting to take off on my virgin Virgin Atlantic flight I find myself constantly checking my battery power. I’m watching the percentage drop on my iPhone with every text, starting at the battery meter on my Kindle wondering if I will have enough juice left to make it through the six-hour flight and then there’s my laptop. It was near 100% when I left the office, but where will it be when I open it halfway through m trip.
And that’s why batteries are going to be the next technology battle ground.
I’m surprised I don’t get stopped more when I fly. My backpack has so many cords, cables and wires inside it looks like it’s one clay brick away from martyrdom. Backup batteries, chargers, connectors, all designed to keep me powered up. But all those cables don’t do a bit of good when you can’t find an outlet to plug into (airlines and airports are getting better about this, but we still have a long way to go). And what about when you are on the go?
If I’m using my phone so much that I’m burning through the battery before mid-day what are the odds that I can leave it plugged in somewhere for a few hours to charge.
Processor speeds are faster than we ever imagined but all that computing power isn’t worth a damn when the device is dead. Most users don’t scratch the surface of what the device can do, processor-wise, and yet we keep making them faster. We’ve made leaps and bounds with touchscreen technology, retina displays and live streaming video/tv. And yet none of these devices can last a full day of usage.
What are the options? I’ve been playing with a few different ones lately. Some good, some bad, but nothing great. What I need is a slim battery, the size of what we have today (or smaller) that’s twice (or more) as powerful. Where is the Moore’s Law for batteries?
Here’s what I’m using these days (note: I must disclose that Duracell is a client):
- Duracell MyGrid: This cordless charging mat and case allow you to quickly charge your phone without plugging in. It’s great for work since I am constantly stopping by my desk to work for a bit then going to a meeting then back to my desk. I can drop the phone on the MyGrid and charge it for a bit then grab it and go. The MyGrid really shines when you have multiple devices. Phones, Blackberrys, iPods etc can all be charged at the same time with one pad. And I really like the MyGrid case. It fits better than most silicone style cases I have tried in the past. My only regret is that I don’t have a pad at home. I keep taking the cover off at night to charge at home and it’s starting to rip in the corner.
- Duracell Instant Charger: A handy little device for recharging on the go. Charge it up via USB on your computer and then plug your dead/dying device into the charger when you need some more juice. It’s small enough to fit easily in your pocket and works with a variety of devices. I use it primarily with my iPhone which means I have to plug the OEM charging cable into the charger and the phone which makes it pretty bulky. But it charges up quickly, so I can’t really complain.
- Mophie Juice Pack Ait: This is the easiest to use of all the different options I have tried. It’s a case that fits over your phone and contains a battery. When your phone is dying, you flip a switch on the bottom and the Mophie battery recharges your phone. The case itself charges quickly via a USB cable. The big drawback is the size and wright. It definitely adds some heft to the phone. The nice part is that there are no cables to connect, and you can keep using the phone as normal while it recharges.
I suppose the only thing I haven’t tried is not using the phone so much (which would make my friends ad family very happy), but let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen any time soon.