LG Chem, a branch of LG, has its sights on moving up the ranks of the small-battery market which feeds the smartwatch and wearables industry. The company already claims to have the number one spot in the medium to large-sized battery market. It hopes to top the competition by releasing an innovative, hexagonal battery for smartwatches with circular faces such as the Moto 360 and LG’s own G Watch R and Watch Urbane.
Before now, rectangular or square batteries were used in circular smartwatches. This left a substantial amount of un-utilized space. In the realm of wearables where the devices are so tiny, performance depends upon making the most of the limited area. Apple Watch and Pebble Time are both rectangular, but an increasing number of Android Wear smartwatches feature circular designs.
The hexagonal shape uses the space under a circular watch face much more efficiently. Its shape has more degrees of freedom than a traditional battery. This isn’t just about space, the new design increases battery capacity by up to 25%. LG hopes it will add an additional four hours of battery life to smartwatches.
The hexagon-shaped battery is part of LG Chem’s “free form battery” business that uses proprietary patented tech called “stack and folding” to create small batteries in any shape. According to the Electronic Times, the method entails “injecting electrolytes after stacking anode material, separation film, and cathode material layer by layer.” Compared to the traditional “winding” method of battery manufacturing, free form batteries should provide greater performance stability and energy density.