3G and even talk of a 4G network may open up endless mobile computing opportunities, but rechargeable batteries will play the biggest role in mobile technology.
We’ve come a long way from the early days of the internet, when a 2400 baud modem was your only ticket into cyberspace. Now, city-wide 3G network coverage is giving people the opportunity to access the internet sans cables or even a local wi-fi hot spot. In essence, the world is fast becoming a hot spot for 3G access.
This is exactly what mobile computing giants like Apple are hoping for; they cannot continue to tout the mobility of their devices if network coverage does not continue to advance as the same pace of mobile gadget technology. So far, however, the ability to connect has remained on pace with the amazing features that you find on the iPad, iPhone, Droid, and top-of-the-line laptops and notebooks. Now, it is not unusual to see people “at work” in nearly any location within a major city. The future is definitely now.
With mobile technology continuing to grow, however, the question of endurance remains: how will the mobile gadgets of the future be powered, and can rechargeable batteries and the technology that goes along with them continue to be as innovative as the gadgets that they power? After all, few people focus on things like rechargeable batteries when they buy a new iPad or Kindle. However, the designers of these amazing devices are spending huge amounts of time, money, and brain cells to develop rechargeable battery technology that can keep pace with their amazing inventions.
To this end, the future of mobile computing will be based entirely on how well the rechargeable batteries inside the device hold up. As has been previously reported, the iPad and other Apple-related devices benefit from some rather sophisticated battery wizardry, with the new iPad purportedly being able to run for up to 12 hours on a single charge. The Amazon Kindle boasts an even more impressive battery life, going for over a week before having to be recharged. Both of these devices now use Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries, which are proving to be the best approach for charging and recharging complex mobile gadgets like the iPad.
However, it’s important to note that, in both of these devices, the power of the charge drops significantly when you’re accessing the 3G network. This is because the 3G networks puts much more strain on the system and thus requires more energy to process. A good analogy is when you run the air conditioning in your car: the added strain on the engine guzzles up more petrol. The risk, then, is that the 3G network and the advent of the 4G network — which is on its way — could at some point outpace even Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries, leaving us with powerful mobile gadgets that don’t have the longevity that they need.
So what will be the solution?
Believe it or not, renewable energy might play a factor in extending the lives of rechargeable batteries for mobile gadgets. Early on, battery manufacturers experimented with solar powered rechargeable batteries that could charge in an emergency. This technology is continuing to be developed, and some companies, such as Scosche’s Solar Powered Backup Battery and Charger for the iPod offers a great solution for campers, hikers, or anyone else who runs the risk of losing their charge before getting back to a power outlet. Lenmar also has a Lithium polymer battery for the iPhone 3G that does essentially the same thing.
But the newest and boldest 3G network gadgets still lack this kind of solar-powered battery back-up.
In the end, however, the next generation of mobile devices are likely to incorporate a powerful, efficient Lithium Ion rechargeable battery with some sort of renewable energy source that will take advantage of the device’s own mobile characteristics. We’ve already seen this with watches, which can now harness solar power, or even inertia and movement to keep their batteries charged. Apple may be looking to similar technologies, imagining an iPhone or iPad whose face is laced with solar panels or whose guts feature a gyroscope that harnesses the movements of the user.
Whatever the case, rechargeable batteries will continue to be the unsung heros in the world of mobile gadgets that seem to get more and more mobile each year.
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