Xiaomi Might Have The Solution To Better Smartphone Batteries

Many smartphone makers aside from Apple, Samsung, and Google have been racing to provide the fastest charging technologies, but these are all just band-aid solutions to the real problem plaguing smartphones for years on end. Battery technology, especially for consumer electronics, hasn't exactly made leaps and bounds in the past years in contrast to the fast-paced innovation happening in smartphones and even charging technologies. Xiaomi, however, wants to sing a different tune soon, and it is announcing an advancement in its battery R&D that sounds almost too modest but actually has a bigger impact than a 120W super-fast charging speed.

Fast Charging stopgap solutions

It's almost crazy how far we've gotten when it comes to charging technologies. In the past, we'd actually have to leave phones plugged in overnight to make sure they had enough juice by the time we woke up. These days, it might actually be more dangerous and more inefficient to do that unless you have a phone that can stop or trickle charge after a given percentage.

We've even come to a point where it almost seems that some companies have lost their marbles. Earlier this year, Xiaomi showed off its newest super-fast charging technologies that reached 200W wired speeds and an unbelievable 120W wireless charging speed. Of course, we haven't seen even a shadow of these in this year's phones.

Not all smartphone makers have jumped on that bandwagon, though, and probably for a good reason. There are hidden costs you have to pay with faster charging, like overall battery longevity as well as safety risks. Fast charging technologies are really just meant to minimize the downtime we have to put up with when juicing up phones. They don't really address the real problem at its roots.

Small but Significant

Smartphone batteries have changed very little over the years, possibly over decades even, and we carry the same volatile chemicals inside our pockets day in and day out. Xiaomi, however, is now making a big claim that looks small in context but is probably one of the biggest improvements in battery tech we've heard so far that isn't related to charging.

For one, it claims to have developed a way to add 10% more battery capacity in the same battery size. For example, a 4,000 mAh battery pack would actually have a 4,400 mAh capacity, and Xiaomi estimates this would add 100 more minutes of average use. This significant improvement is thanks to a variety of changes in the battery's internal and external design. For example, the battery's protection circuit module (PCM or MCP) is made to sit flush with the battery's top, reducing the space required for the component.

Xiaomi does also talk about a new charging-related innovation in the form of a "fuel gauge chip" that monitor's overnight charging so that it slows down the rate until you're about to wake up, at which point it will then speed up the charging until it reaches 100%. While there are smartphones that already advertise this feature, it is mostly dependent on software specific to a company's Android skin. Xiaomi is bringing that technology to the battery's controller hardware directly, potentially making it brand-agnostic.

That 10% improvement almost seems too modest compared to Xiaomi's charging claims, but that only makes it sound more realistic and doable as well. That said, Xiaomi doesn't plan on having these batteries ready until the second half of 2022, so it will take a while before consumers actually get to experience and test these gains. That gives OPPO, one of its biggest rivals in this space, time to also reveal its own next-gen battery tech, and it will hopefully spark a new race that focuses more on the battery itself rather than just the charging speed.