Modern phones aren't renowned for their battery life—and to make things worse, they can take hours to charge, too. Now, though, a simple piece of software could help charge them in minutes, without any need for hardware tweaks.
Technology Review reports that a startup called Qnovo is developing software that constantly monitors and adjusts the flow of power into a battery of a phone during charging. In turn, that allows devices to charge faster, and can even help extend the lifespan of the batteries. Technology Review explains how it works:
When a phone equipped with Qnovo's technology is plugged into an adapter, the software sends a pulse to the phone's battery. The voltage response that comes back from the battery offers information about the battery's status, such as its current temperature and how it has been charged in the past, and lets Qnovo determine how much power it can safely take from the adapter. This means the battery can be charged as fast as possible while minimizing the degradation.
Usually, upping the power you pump into a battery can cause extra damage, but Qnovo's technology just pushes things as far as is sensible—then keeps checking regularly, to maximize its charge. The upshot? While 15 minutes of charge from a wall outlet to a normal smartphone will provide up to 1.5 hours of talk time, Qnovo can deliver 6.
And the best bit is that this is all in software; not a single hardware tweak is required at all (though, obviously, you could also build the same system into a chip that sits in a charger if you wanted to). Qnovo claims that its technology will appear on some smartphones as early as next year—though it's not yet clear which companies are interested. One thing we do know: we can't wait to have this on our phones. [Technology Review]