The Dream of a Better Battery

Let's cut right to the chase. Phones are getting more and more amazing each and every year. However, there is one crucial part of each and every one of those phones that hasn't improved, or rather, has improved, but hasn't kept up with the inflation in screen pixels and the RAM that's crammed into your tiny super computer. That's your battery. 

The solution is easy, right? Just increase the milliamps. Make a thicker phone that can accomodate a bigger battery, because after all, more milliamps means more time using the phone. Well, yes and no. Yes, if phones were stuck in the 2011-2013 era when screens with 1080p displays were seen as over the top and uncessary, and 2GBs of RAM was unheard of. No, because we're in 2015 with screens that have 4 times as many pixels as a 1080p panel has and devices with upwards of 4GBS of RAM and octacore processors.

Phone batteries aren't getting any better, and the solution, better batteries, seems like a pipe dream at this point. So, what's the solution?

In an ideal world, it would mean that manufacturers would invest more of their resources into making their phones drain less power. But, with large, incredibly bright displays and apps that need to run in the background all the time, it's unlikely that better battery technology will come along anytime soon. Even the dream of phones coming with 3,000mAh+ batteries as the standard, instead of the sub-3,000mAh we have right now, is far off. Most of the 2015 flagship devices, i.e. the Galaxy S6, the Note 5, and the iPhone 6S/6S+, all had their battery capacities decrease in size from their predecessors. In the case of Samsung, it was their desire to choose form over function, and in Apple's, it was to cram even more tech in an already impossibly small form factor.

So with better battery technology a dream of the future, we're left with having more chargers in more places. Currently, I myself have chargers in every room in my house, in my car, and one at my work, as well as three portable power packs that I keep in my bag at all times. The problem with this solution is that often, I neglect to look at my battery levels, and my phone is dead before I know it. Having these power chargers everywhere is great, because I can just plug my device in, but it's not perfect. That would require me having to constantly monitor my battery levels to know when I should plug it in, and having wires everywhere is a hassle. That, and wires fail all the time, so it can quickly become expensive, replacing charging cables all of the time.

Having chargers everywhere is at best a stop-gap. Being able to charge mid-day should be able to get most people through the rest of their evening just fine, but that is at best a stop gap. What would be even better than that is a single, universal, wireless charging standard. No more fumbling with micro-USB, USB Type-C, or Lightning connectors, all of which aren't cheap nor universal at this moment in time. Just place your phone down, and boom, it's charging. But, as I write this, there isn't even a wireless charging standard that's universal. Some phones have Qi, others have Powermat, or WiPower, or Rezence. It's a minefield, because everyone wants to be the dominant player in this new field.

What I want to see is yes, better battery tech, which means more time and investment spent into making batteries better overall and more power efficient, but a single universal standard to appear. Something that would be everywhere, so that just the act of setting down your phone would charge it. IKEA has something along these lines, but it's not universal, and it requires you to place your device on a specific part of the surface it's on to properly charge it.

But that will never happen, because batteries will always take the backseat to better displays - things that are tangible and that you can get immediate results and gratification from. For the foreseeable future, the bigger a battery gets, the more you're likely to use your phone. So really, there is only one solution right now to get the best battery life possible from your device: don't use it.