Smartphones are notorious for running out of battery fast – little surprise considering just how much they do. However, for smartphone users it's a real frustration, which makes any new developments in the battery world rather exciting.
Japanese site Nikkei has now revealed that Sony is developing a phone battery that could last as much as 40 per cent longer than the standard lithium batteries currently in use. What's more, these batteries will actually be more compact than their lithium cousins, which means they might lead to thinner phones in the future.
This news will surely be welcome to anyone who regularly sees their phone battery die just hours after charging – but it seems consumers will have to wait a few years to see these batteries hitting phones on the shelves. Indeed, provided these new batteries are found safe to use, they might not reach handsets until 2020.
So, how do they work? Sulphur batteries have been tried before, but they haven't been successful, because with each charge they dissolved electrodes. Sony has been working on tackling this problem and appears to have been successful, using an electrolyte solution to counter the issue.
However, the battery still needs to undergo testing to ensure it's safe for use in mobiles.
So, for now, smartphone users will have to content themselves with shorter-life batteries and opt for power-saving measures instead. One handy tip is ensure you close down any apps you're not actively using – often, even if you don't have an app open it will be running in the background and draining your battery life.
Another useful tip is to turn off any hardware features not in use, as these often use more power than apps. Hardware features that drain a lot of battery life include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, while turning on Airplane Mode can save masses of power – though obviously this is only an option when you really don't need your connection.