As power requirements of mobile devices continue to soar, battery life has declined dramatically when compared with the cell phones of 5 to 10 years ago which could often go 2 to 3 days or longer on a single charge.  Today, only two smartphones offer talk time of over 15 hours – the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx at 19.78 hours, and the unlocked LG Optimus Vu at 16.08 hours.  Let’s look at a couple technologies which could dramatically improve battery-life for a wide range of mobile devices, computers and consumer electronics products.

Lithium-air battery


Lithium-Air Batteries

Nature: Chemistry reported in June that “Lithium-air batteries have the potential to be the next big leap in battery technology because they get rid of a lot of weight and complexity involved” with current lithium ion batteries.  Previous attempts to build lithium-air batteries have failed because the batteries reacted chemically with air and decayed rapidly.  Researchers have discovered a stable electrolyte that won’t react with air and works well at room temperatures.  “At a high discharge rate, researchers figure that it can handle up to 13,500 Watt-hours/kilogram of electrode. Current Lithium ion technology can handle 150 Watt-hours/kilogram of electrode. This would place the battery at 10 times the capacity of current Lithium-ion batteries.”

Lithium-ion Silicon-Composite Battery


 Improving Lithium Ion Batteries with Silicon

“Current Lithium ion batteries use anodes made of grapheme, which allow one lithium atom per six carbon atoms.  Silicon, which allows four lithium ions per one silicon atom, is considered better for building batteries, but silicon tends to expand and contract significantly during charging, which causes the battery to fragment,” reports PC Magazine.  Harold H. Kung’s team from Northwestern University sandwiched clusters of silicon between grapheme sheets in order to reduce or eliminate battery fragmentation.  Professor Kung’s team also “created 10 to 20 nm holes in the sheets to accelerate recharging by as much as 10 times.  The team hopes to develop an electrolyte that can be turned off at high temperatures to prevent fires or explosions”, then turned back on as the battery cools.

Current Products with Best Battery-Life

Looking at real-world battery life, best-in-class battery life ranged from nearly 20 hours for the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx cellphone to 6.49 hours for the HP Folio 13 ultrabook.

Category Product Real Life   Battery-Life (in hours)
Cell Phone Motorola Droid Razr   Maxx 19.78
Ultrabooks HP Folio 13 6.49
Laptops HP Envy 17 8.00
Tablets Apple iPad 2 14.20


Motorola Droid Razr MaxxHP Folio 13 from Micro Center

HP Envy 17 from Micro Center           Apple iPad 2 from Micro Center
What’s the best battery-life you’ve experienced on your cell phone, tablet, laptop or ultrabook?




[1] At Micro Center Columbus, OH only




  1. Ionut says:

    laptop battery life is limtied by the demand of the machine itself, its possible that Toshiba sell and extended life battery and that someone makes an enhanced battery for it, however expecting 8 hours of constant use out of a laptop is a bit much. Two to three hours is normal. Netops can run for 6 hours if you turn down the brightness of the screen and the cpu spread and turn off wi-fi and blue tooth and network cards. It is possible to run a laptop from a lead acid battery via a converter. and if the camera is built into the laptop then you won’t be able to change it