The Challenge of Charging: Can Battery Technology Help our Wearables?

At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the usual technology names in the mobile phone industry launched their latest products. By looking under the covers of these new products we can often see different battery technology that can help the wearable tech and IoT space.

Charging continues to be a challenge for mobile devices – the demand from consumers is for batteries that last longer. One of the big news stories from MWC was the relaunch of Nokia’s iconic 3310 which was renowned for being very resilient as well as having an extremely long battery life – 31 days charge on standby. The fact that this product has grabbed so many of the headlines for its battery life alone shows our obsession of how long our phones will last between charges. As we become more connected and have more devices needing to be charged, this obsession has migrated to apply to our wearable devices.

Battery TechnologySo enabling quicker charge with fewer cables is the goal. Quick Charge 3.0 sees adoption by both LG and Blackberry  – this is battery-charging technology from Qualcomm that can cope with being charged faster through standard cables and wirelessly. If you try to overcharge some battery technologies it can affect its lifespan and ability to stay charged. Quick Charge 3.0 also charges more efficiently so you don’t waste energy when charging.

Qualcomm have recently made moves to buy NXP, who provide a lot of the underlying technology found in cars, phone networks and industrial products. Many of these controllers are at the heart of the smaller wearables we wear today. It will be interesting to see if Qualcomm takes its recharging technology and applies it to more technologies outside of the mobile phone space.

Battery Technology

At CES this year, there was also a focus on innovative charging technologies. Energous had several products on show, including their WattUp technology that beams power to devices using radio waves that charge products. This enables products to potentially be further away with the expected distance to be over 4 metres. This technology could really change wearables enabling them to be free of charging connectors.

Also Read: uBeam, Cutting The Cords & Leading The Charge For A Wireless Future

If we could combine the long battery life achieved by Nokia with the ease of charging is achieved through wireless charging, then the utopia of being able to wear your wearable without having to plug it in could become a reality.

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Trina Watt
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Trina Watt, BEng, MBA, has been involved in the technology industry for over 23 years. Always interested in translating technical concepts into understandable business and marketing messages, Trina currently focuses on helping companies to maximise the impact of technology on their business.