In a day and age where we all spend our lives tethered to our smartphones, checking emails, making calls and generally relying on them to run our lives, there’s a very real problem when it comes to power usage. In fact, how many times have you picked your smartphone up only to find it is dead, with no power at all after well under a day’s worth of use? We’re willing to bet it’s a fairly common occurrence indeed.
Thankfully, we’re not the only ones that have suffered the dreaded curse of the anemic battery, and apparently there are some very, very clever people working on trying to make the power problem an issue of the past.
Those clever people are MIT professors Joel Dawson and David Perreault, who are working on reducing the amount of power needed by smartphones and base stations in the United States. As far as our feeble minds can deduce, the whole thing revolves around how phones switch between standby and high power mode – the mode that is used when phones are transmitting and receiving data over 3G or LTE.
In their locked state, smartphones sit in standby mode, which in theory should reduce the power used and prolong battery life. When data is on the move, a high power mode is activated and the phone goes about its business. Unfortunately though, it’s not quite as simple as that.
See, because making sudden leaps between power levels can distort the signal, that standby mode actually uses more power than it really needs, increasing battery use as a result. The technology worked on by the two professors goes some way to fixing this though, but allowing devices to switch power modes up to 20 million times a second, increasing the power use more gradually and preserving battery life.
We’re sure it’s considerably more complicated than that, but we are just men and doubt we’d understand it anyway! Regardless, the technology is expected to reach base stations in early 2013, but we might have to wait a while longer before it finds its way into our smartphones. Most importantly though, it’s good to know someone’s working on making our phones last a whole day, even if the manufacturers can’t manage it on their own!