The last few weeks have been a nightmare for South Korean giant Samsung. The company's latest flagship device- Galaxy Note 7 has been called for a total haul after consumers around the globe reported their handsets exploding and causing damages.
Samsung in a statement said that it expects further $3 billion in lost income from to its move to scrap the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 phone, raising the financial impact of the crisis to the equivalent of about half of its profit last year in the mobile division.
Cumulating all the losses incurred by company, it's total expected loss is around half of the company's 10.13 trillion won operating profit in the mobile division in 2015. That's a huge number, which clearly explains how important it is for smartphone manufacturers to keep a quality check on their products for company's profit and also for consumers' safety.
But what more important for these companies and the world is, to see the next breakthrough in battery technology. Here's why it's important.
No significant improvement in last 15 years
While the Lithium-ion battery technology is almost three decades old, the first commercial lithium-ion battery was released by Sony and Asahi Kasei in the year 1991. Since then, the lithium-ion technology used in a smartphone or laptop hasn't changed significantly.
However, smartphone have become revolutionary
Mobile phones have evolved significantly in the last 5 to 6 years. These days we are literally working on palm sized computers that packs in speedy processors, GPUs, humongous RAM and powerful sensors. All of these require a good amount of energy to function continuously without causing performance issues.
In comparison to mobile phone revolution, battery technology is still the same and needs to be modified to support the latest developments in smartphone technology.
What are the challenges
Smartphone manufacturers are in the competition of making smartphones sleeker day by day. This makes it a daunting task for them to integrate large sized batteries in handsets without compromising on other features they pack underneath.
The solution is denser Lithium-ion battery units, which is also the main cause of smartphones catching fire. The excessive heat generated by the higher-density batteries due to pressure sensitivity, load they handle to power up full HD, 2K and even 4K and multi-core CPUs makes them explode in extreme case, the case of Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
A huge amount of money is spent around the globe to revolutionize the battery technology and to give the successor of Lithium-ion batteries. As per a report, Scientists at Cambridge University have developed an alternative of lithium-ion batteries in the form of lithium-air batteries. As per their tests, the new battery could have 10 times the capacity of today's lithium-ion technology.
Besides, researchers from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois have also claimed to develop an alternative of Lithium-ion batteries. Calling it Lithium-superoxide battery, the new technology is claimed to solve many of the major problems of present batteries used in smartphones. The commercial use of these new technologies is yet to figure out and might take another decade.
What least we (consumers) can do to be on a safer side
Smartphones have become an inevitable part of our lives and can't be ignored. The least we can do to make sure that we do not fall into the trap of extreme battery problems is to minimize their usage while they are on charging, avoid non-genuine chargers, cut their usage in car and do not use non-original car chargers, keep them away from sunlight or any other hot surface, avoid prolonged charging, use only original batteries, etc.