Chinese technology company Huawei has announced that its latest prototype battery fills up with power 10 times quicker than the ones in current smartphones. Huawei has been showing off the technology at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan this week, where a 3,000mAh pack reached a 48 percent charge in just 5 minutes.
The lithium-ion batteries inside smartphones, tablets, and other similar gadgets have two main sections: an anode and a cathode. Electrons move from one section to the other while our devices are in use, and then back in the opposite direction as they are recharged.
Huawei says it has managed to bond special heteroatoms to the graphite molecules in the anode section of the battery to get this process moving faster, without decreasing energy density or battery life.
Faster charging might not seem as important as longer-lasting batteries, but if you combine it with modern-day wireless charging technologies, the need for batteries that go on and on becomes less urgent: if your phone can get back to a 100 percent charge every time you put it down at the office or at the coffee shop for 5 minutes, for example, you won't notice it getting dangerously low as often.
And it's not just about smartphones either, because everything from solar panels to electric cars need batteries that can take on a lot of energy quickly. If you're stopping your electric vehicle for a recharge, you don't want to be twiddling your thumbs for half an hour while it fills back up.
"Huawei is confident that this breakthrough in quick charging batteries will lead to a new revolution in electronic devices, especially with regard to mobile phones, electric vehicles, wearable devices, and mobile power supplies," says the company. "Soon, we will all be able to charge our batteries to full power in the time it takes to grab a coffee!"
While Huawei says the batteries "underwent many rounds of testing" and "have been certified by Huawei's terminal test department", it stopped short of saying exactly when these new packs will make their way into our gadgets.
We shouldn't have to wait too long, however - manufacturers such as Motorola and Samsung already have fast charging technologies built into their handsets, though not quite as speedy as the one shown off by Huawei's team of technicians.