Huawei shows off fast-recharging battery

Charge your smartphone to half capacity in just five minutes

Huawei has developed a prototype smartphone battery that can be recharged to half its capacity in just five minutes.

The battery is based on the same lithium ion chemistry used in cellphone batteries today but gets its advantage from atoms of graphite bonded to the anode, Huawei said on Friday at an industry conference in Japan.

That change means faster charging but not at the expense of usage life or a sacrifice in the amount of energy that can be stored in each battery, it said.

It was developed by Huawei research and development subsidiary Watt Lab and the company showed off two prototypes in videos posted online.

One of the two batteries has a capacity of 3,000mAh (milliampere hours) -- about equivalent to the batteries in modern smartphones -- and can be charged to 48 percent of capacity in five minutes. The second has a much smaller capacity of 600mAh but reaches 68 percent of capacity in just two minutes.

The batteries have undergone repeated testing and the fast charging isn't a one-time deal, the company said.

In the video, a battery is taken from a Huawei smartphone and recharged in a prototype charging unit. The device is bulky and hasn't been shrunk to the size that it could fit inside a phone.

Huawei didn't say when the fast charging might make its way into commercial products.

The announcement is one of a number this year that all point toward faster charging or longer battery life. Advances in battery technology have lagged other areas of technology and battery life remains a limiting factor for gadgets such as phones and larger products like electric vehicles.

Earlier this week, researchers at Vanderbilt University said they had used quantum dots of iron pyrite, also know as fool's gold, to realize a fast-charging lithium ion battery.

Scientists at Stanford University presented in April a fast-charging battery that uses aluminum-ion cells. They said it could be charged in about a minute, but at that time had only realized prototypes that were not powerful enough for use in smartphones.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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