Huawei's new smartphone battery charges to 50% in five minutes

Posted Nov 15, 2015 by James Walker
Improvements in battery technology are beginning to reduce smartphone charging times but this week Huawei managed to destroy the records set by developments like Qualcomm Quick Charge. The company took five minutes to take a phone to 50 percent.
An employee checks his phone at a Huawei store in Beijing on March 24  2014.
An employee checks his phone at a Huawei store in Beijing on March 24, 2014.
Mark Ralston, AFP/File
The lithium-ion batteries have been hailed as revolutionary. They were demonstrated at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan this week by Watt Lab, Huawei's research and development division.
The cells charge 10 times more quickly than current smartphone batteries. A 600mAh unit — found in small devices like smartwatches — reached 68 percent capacity in just two minutes while a smartphone-sized 3,000mAh pack was at 48 percent five minutes after being plugged in. Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 technology, found in several flagship devices this year, is able to power phones to around 60 percent in 30 minutes.
Huawei's batteries work by making it easier for lithium ions to move between the electrodes inside. The company bonded special ring structured atoms known as heteroatoms to the graphite in the battery anodes. The heteroatoms act as a catalyst and are able to capture and move lithium between the carbon bonds in the battery. The result is a spectacular improvement in charging time without sacrificing any battery life, according to Huawei.
The company hasn't said if it will be commercialising the technology. Trusted Reviews reports it said "Soon, we will all be able to charge our batteries to full power in the time it takes to grab a coffee!"
Battery life remains one of the major limitations to consider when developing new mobile devices. Adding more powerful components requires the usage of a larger battery but these often take hours to charge. Even with the introduction of systems like Qualcomm Quick Charge, it still takes a couple of hours before a typical phone hits 100 percent from empty.
Other efforts to create better batteries are looking at how life can be extended from a full charge. In August, a mistake at a research lab led to the accidental creation of an aluminium battery that lasts up to four times longer than the lithium ones in our devices today.
The current state of Huawei's prototype technology is too bulky to fit into a mobile device but the company is reportedly confident it can get it into a smartphone. It has also repeatedly tested the batteries and verified that they can consistently produce their claimed charging times throughout their lifespan, giving us another kind of next-generation battery to look forward to in the future.