We could be about to get hold of smartphones which completely recharge their batteries in five minutes, at least if one tech company’s not-yet-fully-proven boasts come true.
According to an Israeli start-up called StoreDot, these new phone batteries could enter mass production early next year – meaning that we could start seeing the technology in major phones shortly after that.
In 2015, when it was first demonstrated, StoreDot’s boss Doron Myersdorf told the BBC that the battery “contained materials that allowed for ‘non-traditional’ reactions and the unusually fast transfer of ions from an anode to a cathode, the electrical process that charges a battery”. He was obviously quite cagey on the design, but it apparently features “nanomaterials” and secret organic compounds. The tech did appear to work at the time, but the batteries on display two years ago were bigger than actual smartphones, causing some doubt that they would be viable.
Following his theme of secrecy, Myersdorf isn’t revealing the two Asian manufacturers he’s working with on the first production models, and some analysts are skeptical.
"Taking risks with battery technology can bite you," one told the BBC. "I would say that experience has taught me to always remain skeptical. Let's see if it happens would be my view."
Batteries produce a lot of heat, and as Samsung’s exploding battery problems from last year demonstrate – when a series of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s burst into flames around the world, forcing a total recall and a tumble in stock prices – messing with them can have unintended consequences.
Of course, battery life is one of the holy grails of the whole smartphone industry. Aside from shattering the screen, getting it nicked and paying through the nose for a monthly contract, the most annoying thing about owning a smartphone is how quickly it loses charge. These things barely last a day at the best of times, but if you actually want to use them to watch video or play games, you’re not going to make it to bedtime before you go dark.