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The human affair with smartphones is a complex one. Some people enjoy certain features, some people go for durability and some go for battery life. The average smartphone’s battery life has been increasing, but the time to charge said batteries has been largely stagnant. Some users need to charge their phones for as long as four hours to go from zero to 100 percent. In addition, frequent charging of smartphones has a negative effect on its battery life. While batteries can be easily replaced on some phones, others need to take their phones in for repairs, which can cost as much as getting a new phone in some cases.

I ran a charging test on my own phone to get it out of what I call the “death zone” (anything below 20 percent). My phone charged in about two and a half hours. I have an older smartphone with less battery capacity, which should mean faster charging times, but this is only true if you plug it into a wall socket (and I haven’t accounted for the battery itself, which has probably been damaged from years of charging). Charging via power bank, laptop or PC is much slower because of the limit of the amount of milliamperes (mA) that can go through USB ports, which is capped at 500 mA (900 mA for USB 3.0), while wall chargers don’t have that kind of restriction.

This leaves consumers with a dilemma: how can I charge my phone quickly without affecting the battery life? Some people might think that the answer lies in breaking some law of physics, but thanks to innovation, there is a way to do both. Huawei has come up with a quick-charge solution to get batteries the juice they need without damaging the battery. The lithium battery (Li-ion) has a graphite-coated anode that quickly charges the battery without damaging it. One prototype can charge 3000 mAh batteries to about half capacity in five minutes with this new technology, which might make the terms “low battery” or “dead phone” a thing of the past.

Another prototype using Huawei’s technology can charge a phone to more than two-thirds capacity in just two minutes, but the battery is only 600 mAh, which is far below the capacity of many current-generation smartphones. Huawei claims that the technology, revealed at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan, will revolutionize not only the way mobile phones are used, but electric vehicles, wearables and power banks as well. “Soon, we will be able to charge our batteries to full power in the time it takes to grab a coffee,” the company said.

There is no release date yet for these batteries, but once the technology gets going, it could reduce the amount of batteries consumed and lengthen the life of smartphones and other gadgets that make use of Li-ion batteries.

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