Smartphone companies seem to be constantly improving their models, rolling them out like technological pancakes, making the screens larger and wider and the phone itself thinner, until we’ll eventually end up with the Apple Crepe plus. As much as we love these aesthetic improvements, what we really want is a battery that can survive a whole day of normal (okay, not ‘normal’, but not much above average) use. Finally, it seems like UK company Intelligent Energy have heard our prayers and the clatter of all those portable chargers in our bags and come to the rescue with their iPhone 6 prototype that has a hydrogen fuel cell battery which will last an entire week.
Scientists have known for a long time that the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce water will also produce electricity. Intelligent Energy have refined this chemical reaction using layers of steel and a breathable plastic to multiply the effect, redesigning the most recent iPhone to have exhaust ports for the release of the heat and water produced. Right now, the charging is achieved by pumping hydrogen through a modified headphone port but Intelligent Energy hope to develop disposable cartridges that phone companies would hopefully take into consideration in their future designs.
As amazing as removable cartridges would be, there would be nothing worse than buying a phone, paying for its contract, and then paying to keep it charged. At no point do I want the upkeep of my phone to become akin to maintaining a car. Thankfully, Intelligent Energy have considered this, and made the fuel cell small enough that it can fit in the iPhone 6 alongside its current battery. This means you would be able to rely on the standard battery for day to day life but for times when you know your phone is going to need to be able to last longer than say, a standard check up on your various social media accounts, you have the hydrogen cell to back you up.
It seems that Intelligent Energy don’t have a set price or release time for the battery, but they do believe it could be commercially released within a couple of years. Although this all depends on how quickly their partner is willing to push things forward and how successful the company would be in convincing consumers to pick up the battery. Let’s hope this is a phone development that is able to push into the mainstream; I’d really like to be able to turn my phone brightness up to a level that doesn’t leave me squinting.