Smartphone batteries: better but no breakthrough
TMT Predictions 2015
Deloitte predicts that the rechargeable, lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery technology used in all smartphones will improve only modestly in 2015.
Battery life is becoming an increasingly primal anxiety among digital natives, and will likely remain a key factor for those choosing their next smartphone. People who started using mobile telecommunications back in the mid-90s or earlier will be familiar with predecessors to Li-Ion, such as nickel metal hydride, which had markedly inferior performance. These individuals may yearn for a similar step-change improvement in battery performance. The good news is that one day there will likely be a new formulation that offers a significant improvement. The bad news is we do not foresee any breakthrough battery technologies being in the market in 2015 – or, regrettably, before the end of this decade.
Deloitte predicts that the rechargeable, lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery technology used in all smartphones will improve only modestly in 2015. We expect a 2015 Li-ion battery to have no more than five percent greater unit charge or milliampere hours (mAh) compared to a 2014 model of the same dimensions and voltage. What’s more, we do not expect to see anything more than a modest improvement from Li-Ion at any time in the future – with an estimated maximum increase of 30 percent before the technology hits a ceiling.
New smartphone owners may still see a 15 percent increase in battery life, but this will mostly be due to other factors. New devices will benefit from efficiency improvements in the components that draw power from batteries (principally processors, radio transmitters and screens), as well as from better software. Further, we expect the mAh of the average battery shipped in smartphones will increase by up to 25 percent in 2015, due to the increase in average size of smartphones sold, with battery capacity rising at a greater pace than screen area . However, actual battery life will not increase by the full 25 percent, as larger screens use more power and newer phones typically offer increased functionality, leading to more intensive usage.