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Huawei Promises 10 Times Faster Smartphone Battery Charging

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Ever let your battery die down to 1 percent only to have to jump up and run out somewhere with a dwindling smartphone power? You’ve got 10 minutes to get a quick charge but you know that won’t last you long.

That’s a common scenario in a mobile device-heavy world. Now, Huawei is making a big industry move to solve a felt-need for users who wait until the last minute to get charged up - or just use their devices so much that they need frequent rapid charges.

As part of a project from Watt Lab, part of the Central Research Institute at Huawei Technology Corporation Limited, Huawei took the lid off its quick charging lithium-ion batteries. The technology powers batteries that have posted charging speeds that are 10 times faster than average. That translates to getting a 50 percent charge in a matter of minutes.

Too Good To Be True?

At the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan on Friday, Huawei showed off videos of two different types of fast-charging lithium-ion batteries. The first battery carries a 600 mAh capacity. This is the more powerful of the two, with the ability to charge a smartphone to 68 percent status within two minutes.

Huawei also demonstrated a battery with 3000 mAh capability that offers energy density above 620 Wh/L. That’s a powerful punch in terms of how many energy watts are stored in the actual battery pack. This model can be charged to 48 percent capacity in five minutes to ultimately allow you to talk on your phone for 10 hours on Huawei devices.

Is it too good to be true? Huawei said that its innovation has gone through plenty of testing rounds. The company’s terminal test department also certified the numbers. So if it’s not too good to be true, how does it work?

Will This Catch On?

The answer is super technical: lab workers "bonded heteroatoms to the molecule of graphite in anode, which could be a catalyst for the capture and transmission of lithium through carbon bonds, " the company said. Heteroatoms increase the battery’s charging speed without negatively impacting energy density or battery life, according to Huawei.

“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, ” the company said in a statement. “Soon, we will all be able to charge our batteries to full power in the time it takes to grab a coffee!”

We caught up with Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his thoughts on the new battery innovation. He told us Huawei is using a completely different type of battery than what is currently seen on the market.

“What stops us from gaining this charging speed with normal batteries is the heat associated with the power moving through the battery, ” Entner said. “Huawei is using different chemistry. They are using heteroatoms, which I think is an interesting and welcome development.”

Will this ultimately work out to Huawei’s marketing advantage? Entner is not so sure, but he said he is convinced the trend toward faster charging batteries will catch on.

“We’ve all been in a bind before where the battery was starting to go to zero and we were at an airport and didn’t have time to wait around for two hours for the phone to charge, ” Entner said. “For a mobile device, fast recharge time is important. It’s not as important as having a larger phone, or a larger battery . . . but still.”

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