On any given Friday, when your workday fades and turns into a night on the town, there’s one apparatus that typically gets tired before you do–your cell phone. It’s the most common technological problem in America today, as our cell phones are constantly running out of battery because we play on them all day long. By the time you’ve been out of the house for more than half a day, your battery will probably be as dead as a doornail.
We’ve all been there–the moment that you realize that the death of your cell phone’s battery is imminent. Panic sets in as you query everyone around you for a charger. Often times you can only find a charger that doesn’t suit your phone. In the midst of the madness while you’re desperately looking for the appropriate charger, your phone dies. Suddenly, you’re stuck in 1990 again, without a cell phone and without a prayer of communicating with your friends and family members who are probably looking for you.
Today, our cell phones are more powerful than ever. They’re able to cater to all of our whims with one minor caveat. Unfortunately, like a needy lover that constantly needs attention, our cell phones constantly thirst for a plug-in. The nifty apps that help us find dates, get rides, order food, and play games only accelerate the battery drainage. Every day, I find my phone more cluttered with apps that I’m seemingly forced into downloading. When will batteries improve so that I don’t have to have ten chargers haphazardly stashed in random places such as suit jackets, cars, friend’s houses and at grandma’s?
While there are some promising advances on the horizon for better batteries, they often come with a catch. The reality is that we’re still far from an industry-wide solution for batteries. The future of cell phones, as well as electric cars, depends on innovations in battery technology that are just now being developed.
There’s also the problem that battery technology has inherent limitations. We demand small and portable technology, but in the world of batteries, smaller definitely isn’t always better. Batteries are made up of metals and chemicals, and if you reduce the size, you often reduce the output.
Batteries often start their life cycles with already mediocre capabilities. As time goes on, they don’t charge as well and begin to decline in capacity. This week it was announced that researchers in California are developing technology that would bring us closer to a battery that would never have to be replaced.
In the meantime, I would continue to take all of these promising battery technologies with a grain of salt and carry on with hoarding chargers for the time being. The bad news is that while cell phone technology has taken great leaps forward, battery technology hasn’t quite caught up. While there are many exciting advances in the innovation pipeline, you’re going to have to wait quite a while before those hit the market and save us from our perpetually crappy batteries.
David is the Editor of Bold. He's especially passionate about millennial economic empowerment. A former local news reporter, David is originally from the Little Havana area in Miami, and later became a pioneer resident of the Disney-inspired town of Celebration, Florida. David holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.