Will smartphones ever break free of their chargers?

We find ourselves charging devices on a daily basis. Will our smartphones ever break free from their chargers? Let's look at some potential solutions.
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Will smartphones ever break free of their chargers?

Phone batteries always run out too quickly. Thankfully, the tech world is determined to find clever ways of keeping your phone away from its charger as much as possible.

Take the new Yotaphone 2 (pictured above) for example. It has an electronic paper display (EPD) on the back that lets you use most of the phone’s features without using much power at all. So using that special screen, you can get up to four day’s battery life.

Then there are the Nexus 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which both have fast charging tech. With either of these smartphones, a 15 minute charge will give you 50% battery so you don’t need to stay close to a plug socket for too long.

CAN OUR MOBILES DEPEND EVEN LESS ON THE NATIONAL GRID?

The Qualcomm Toq uses a Mirasol screen
The Qualcomm Toq uses a Mirasol screenEnlarge Enlarge

With the Yotaphone 2 getting a lot of attention all over the world, it’s possible that in the future we’ll see phones that only have EPDs. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice a colourful screen in return for better battery life.

Qualcomm, the company that makes processors for most smartphones, has created Mirasol, a colour version of the EPD on the back of the Yotaphone 2. But if we’re going to use it as the main screen on our phones, Qualcomm has to work out how to give it a wider range of colours and higher resolution.

If we do get a phone with a next generation Mirasol display, we’d expect its battery to last a week or more between charges.

But improved fast charging is probably more likely to hit our phones before Mirasol does. And the best of this new technology is from a company called StoreDot, which makes a battery that can charge from flat to full in under a minute.

StoreDot makes its batteries out of organic nanotechnology and says it’ll be ready to mass produce them for new phones this year. If a phone like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 got one of these batteries, we wouldn’t care if it only lasted 12 hours between charges.

WHAT IF WE NEVER HAD TO PLUG OUR PHONES IN?

Microsoft AutoCharge sends power to a phone from across a room.
Microsoft AutoCharge sends power to a phone from across a room.Enlarge Enlarge

Other companies are looking for the Holy Grail of power supplies, the ability to charge a device automatically, wirelessly and at a distance.

The most exciting wireless charging tech is being developed by Microsoft. Its AutoCharge system uses cameras to recognise devices that need charging and then aims a beam of light at them to activate solar panels that Microsoft wants built into new gadgets.

If Microsoft perfects its designs and persuades others to add solar panels to their electronics, you’d never need to plug your phone in again.

Which new battery tech do you want to see most in your smartphone? Let us know in the comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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