For all our fast processors, QHD displays, and other bleeding edge jumps in tech, the holy grail of mobile innovation remains a way to meaningfully improve battery life in today’s devices. It’s something we’ve been promised time and time again with no real progress, so forgive us if we aren’t at least a little skeptical by Intelligent Energy Holdings, a British fuel-cell developer, claim that they are working to finally crack the battery life code in the near future.
This particular fuel-cell developer is best known for its work on a hydrogen-powered black cab in London and on creating a fuel-cell-powered aircraft with Boeing. With more than 25 years research and a patent arsenal of over a thousand, it’s clear that Intelligent Energy Holdings is an established player in the emerging fuel-cell game. Translating that research into the mobile landscape isn’t going to be easy though, regardless of the company’s experience, but they apparently are already pretty far along.
The fuel-cell maker says that an “emerging smartphone maker” will provide them with $7.6 million to develop a fuel cell small enough for the use in mobile phones in the near future. Reportedly such a system would reduce the need to charge significantly, meaning that once a week plug-ins might become reality. So how exactly would such a battery work? In the simplest terms, a fuel-cell battery would convert hydrogen into electricity, leaving water vapor as a byproduct.
As for when we supposedly might see a phone using fuel cell power hit the market? Unlike many similar battery innovations we’ve wrote about that had no timeline for release in sight, Intelligent Energy is supposedly much closer to actually making the dream a reality.
The Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy, Henri Winand, says that if the partnership with the undisclosed handset maker goes well, it could see market availability in around two years. Of course, there’s still a lot of unknowns here – costs, rechargeable or replaceable, etc. This timeline is also hinging on “things going well”, and new tech breakthroughs often run into big hurdles. We wouldn’t get our hopes up too much at this point, but the idea of one week charging is certainly an intriguing one. For now, the closest we get to that with mobile phones is the 2-3 day battery life found on devices like the Huawei Mate 8.
What do you think, excited by the prospect of one-week charging?