By Reid Goldsborough
the ever-increasing reliance on high-powered smartphones and other
portable digital devices, the lowly battery is getting more and more
attention - from charging stations at supermarkets to new battery
technologies on the horizon.
Supermarkets such as Whole Foods,
clothing stores such as Urban Outfitters, and even some restaurants and
ski resorts are installing cellphone charging stations from companies
such as ChargeItSpot ( www.chargeitspot.com). Often, the service is free to customers, with the establishment paying ChargeItSpot to help them cement customer loyalty.
manufacturers are working on batteries that can be almost fully charged
in the time it takes you have eat lunch. Chinese tech giant Huawei
(www.huawei.com) has announced new quick-charging batteries that charge
up to 10 times faster than normal batteries. The batteries still are in
the developmental stage, but one technology might make it possible to
charge batteries to 68 percent in two minutes.
behind the rechargeable batteries in today's portable devices is
lithium-ion. Used in batteries, lithium-ion is a more advanced
technology than nickel-cadmium, which is a more advanced technology than
alkaline batteries. Unlike lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium batteries,
alkaline batteries can't be recharged.
To minimize battery usage and prolong the battery power of your device, follow these tips:
- Keep your software up-to-date. The latest operating systems have all kinds of tricks to conserve battery power.
mindful with apps such as Facebook and Instagram, which are battery
hogs. iPhones, for instance, let you see which apps use the most juice.
Press Settings then General, then Usage, and then Battery Usage. You
optionally can turn off background data use with apps that don't need to
be continually downloading data in the background. Press Settings,
General, and Background App Refresh.
- Avoid extreme
temperatures. The ideal temperature range is 62 degrees to 72 degrees F,
though devices generally can be used safely in temperatures from 32
degrees to 95 degrees. Heat above 95 degrees can be outright harmful, so
avoid car trunks in summer. You can kill batteries this way.
down your screen brightness, and set it to black and white, if this is
an option. Both will prolong battery life. Of course, brightness and
color can be useful features. Another option is turning off wireless
connections such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi if you're not using them.
the right device. If you primarily read books, get an e-reader. With
their black-and-white screens and specialized functionality, e-readers
have a battery life that's measured in days, not hours.
Several misconceptions about today's batteries also can prevent you from getting the most out of them, including:
should always let a battery drain completely before recharging for
maximum battery life. This was the case with nickel-cadmium batteries,
but lithium-ion batteries don't need this. What you should do, however,
is drain the battery periodically. Advice differs, from once a month to
once a year. Just run the device until it shuts itself off. Then
recharge it. Batteries won't discharge 100 percent even when the screen
indicates a 0-percent charge. That's the reason why when you hit the power button, the device turns on long enough to tell you to recharge.
your smartphone or tablet plugged in will overcharge it. Not true.
These days most devices are designed to stop charging once the battery
is fully charged. All rechargeable batteries have a finite life before
they have to be replaced. Lithium-ion batteries can be recharged about
500 times before their maximum charge begins to decline. You'll notice
this when you begin having to recharge sooner and sooner.