Editorial – Guilty as charged4 October 2016
A ‘removable battery fanboy’ confesses…
Alerted by Twitter to an online article discussing exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices, I discovered recently that I may be a ‘removable battery fanboy’ when it comes to mobile phones. (I hadn’t realised that there were such people – but it seems the phenomenon is well documented, along with microSD card fanboys and IR blaster fanboys, apparently.) I’m pretty sure that whenever I’ve replaced my mobile, I’ve always chosen one with a removable battery – and there are two reasons for this.
The first is that I’ve found that phone battery performance declines over time, even during the contract period – and buying a new battery (assuming you don’t accidentally acquire a fake) is a relatively cheap way to remedy this. The second reason is that I don’t like buying products that have to be thrown away in their entirety just because the battery can no longer hold its charge for an acceptable period. Of course providing a user-accessible battery compartment generally has a slightly increased manufacturing cost associated with it – but if there’s any noticeable impact on the final price, I generally don’t mind paying.
The humble battery is something that we tend not to consider very deeply in these pages – we usually talk about rechargeability in terms of how many hours of use one can get out of an intercom beltpack or wireless microphone without giving much thought to the underlying power technology. But of course it’s developments in power storage technology that have enabled many products – not least phones – to become smaller and slimmer in recent years. And the Internet of Things depends on small, cheap sensors that, once deployed, run for several years with no facility for recharging. 3D printing technology is also being used for batteries, and the early results look encouraging – with materials such as magnesium and superconductive graphene set to outperform the more conventional lithium or nickel. Medical researchers are even looking into how ingestible batteries could be used as drug-delivery systems within the body.
So, whether you favour removable or fixed, don’t overlook these wonders of packaged power. They’re set to become ever more important in many aspects of our lives.