A mobile phone that doesn’t constantly need to be plugged into a power source? Yes, please – we’re all over that and right now!
A British company will swoop to the rescue of millennials and other 24/7-connected types with a new phone that will need charging only once a week, thanks to a new type of battery.
Intelligent Energy Holdings, which put hydrogen-powered fuel cells into London’s distinctive black cabs, proposes to adopt the same technology for smartphones. The company said yesterday that an emerging smartphone maker has agreed to put down £5.25 million (Dh27.82 million) in development costs to create a new fuel cell small enough for mobile phones, Bloomberg reports.
Long battery life
Once embedded, a fuel cell can keep a smartphone powered for more than a week without plugging into a power source – basically giving consumers off-grid power when and where they want. “With consumer power demands increasing and the advent of the internet of things making the world more connected than ever, now is the time to address the biggest limitation we have in achieving true connectivity – battery life,” Julian Hughes, Acting Managing Director for Intelligent Energy’s Consumer Electronics division, said in a statement.
The new solution will build on the company’s existing prototype, the statement said. The clean energy technology works by converting hydrogen into electricity and leaving behind water vapour as a byproduct. Besides London taxis, companies such as Boeing, EasyJet, BMW, Ikea and Morgan Stanley are all either looking into it or have already announced adoption plans. However, prototypes small enough to be embedded into portable electronic devices have not been developed – until now.
“We have been working with the OEM over recent weeks, demonstrating to them what our hydrogen fuel cell technology can achieve when embedded into a smartphone,” Hughes said.
“We believe embedding fuel cell technology into portable devices provides a solution to the current dilemma of battery life and with consumers demanding more and more from their phones, battery innovation has not kept up,” he added. “What we offer is a solution that is clean and efficient and means consumers could be truly mobile and free from the constraints of the grid.”
Intelligent Energy expects the fuel-cell powered phone could be on the market within two years, Bloomberg quoted Henri Winland, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy, as saying. “The killer app is a battery with a seven-week refresh life and we think that will appeal to everyone. It’s not just for intrepid explorers,” Winland said.
The Loughborough, England-based firm has developed more than 1,000 patents over the past 25 years and has operations in India, Japan, Singapore and the USA.
What kind of phone will it be? No more details are available, but since Intelligent Energy is working with an emerging OEM, the phone’s likely to be an Android product – but long battery life is enough to weaken even die-hard Apple users’ resolve.