Feeds

Better gadget battery-level readouts in pipeline

'Sh*t, it said full just now' - a cry of the past?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

You know the way your phone shows a full battery for ages and ages, then as soon as you make or take a call it throws a double six and shuts down? Or the way your mp3 player drops towards empty while playing, then suddenly climbs up to almost-full again as soon as you press stop?

Annoying, isn't it? But, according to a report in MIT's Technology Review, such irritations could be a thing of the past soon.

Current devices suffer from misleading battery energy readouts because they typically measure only voltage. But batteries' output voltage drops when more load is put on them, which is the reason for the sudden plunge on taking calls - even though, in fact, it's unlikely that energy is being depleted so fast.

Furthermore, the voltage behaviour of a battery changes as it ages, which can lead power-management software to erroneously decide that there is no power available much too soon. In many cases, devices shut down well before they need to, and batteries with useful service life remaining get discarded.

"You can lose 30 percent of the energy in a battery simply because the device shuts itself down too early," according to Texas Instruments' engineers.

But the TI battery boffins reckon they've got the answer. The firm has produced a new battery-monitoring chip that measures impedance as well as voltage, allowing a more accurate assessment. The TI designers reckon their kit can tell within 1% just how much energy remains, perhaps allowing an increase in useable capacity of 50 or even 100% - dependant on power-management configuration, of course. The chip can be put in a device such as a smartphone, or in the battery pack itself.

According to TI, their new gear would allow a phone to tell users exactly how much talk or standby time was left, perhaps down to the minute.

An alternative approach is to measure current as well as voltage, which allows actual energy use to be monitored in real time. Provided the system has a good idea of how much energy was there to begin with, it will know how much remains.

Such voltage-and-current systems are under development by Motorola, among others. They would, however, need to be combined with an accurate model of battery-ageing behaviour to work properly, especially if the battery was charged up without being connected to the chip.

The Tech Review piece is here

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.