Friday, 16 November 2012

Battery efficiency

I'm going to need my next phone to be about twice as efficient, power-wise, as my current one. After a year of perfectly ordinary use, the battery now needs to be charged twice daily, which is absurd. I need better battery life, but, like most people, I am not willing to sacrifice portability (extra weight or size could fit a bigger battery) or power (lower performance doesn't use as much battery) so I just need the components to be much better at using less power for the same job.

Not too long ago, in human lifetime terms, computing resources were not plentiful and abundant like they are today. If you needed your particular program to run quickly enough for human consumption, you needed powerful hardware and efficient programming tricks. These days, efficient computing is pretty pointless, because computers are billions of times more powerful than they used to be. Well, that's the perception, anyway, but once we started running our computers off batteries (laptops, phones and tablets) that inefficiency started to have an impact again.

We need our hardware to be more power-efficient, and they're working on that. We need our programs to be more efficient, too, but we're working in the opposite direction on that. Today's laptop batteries are considered good enough if they can last 5 hours unplugged. A phone needs to be charged every night at a minimum, probably twice a day when being used heavily. Batteries are quickly becoming the annoying visible technology of our world, and technology is only considered really good once it disappears from our consciousness entirely. We need our batteries and the devices that run on them to be so good that the batteries are not even a consideration any more.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We need orders of magnitude gains here.
PPS - That is, batteries ten times as powerful with components needing one tenth the energy.

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