MWC 2024: Honor to Samsung, smartphone makers charge ahead to make better batteries | Mobile News

MWC 2024: Honor to Samsung, smartphone makers charge ahead to make better batteries

  • Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024 has put the spotlight on smartphone makers like Honor, Samsung and others.

| Updated on: Feb 27 2024, 19:14 IST
HONOR Magic V2: World's thinnest foldable smartphone - check specs, camera and more
Honor Magic 6 Pro
1/5 The HONOR Magic V2, initially launched in China last year, has now made its way overseas, debuting in Europe, including the UK. Claiming the title of the world's thinnest foldable, this innovative device measures a mere 9.9mm thick when folded and an astonishing 4.7mm when open, setting a new standard in foldable technology. (HONOR)
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2/5 The HONOR Magic V2 stands out for its remarkable thinness. When folded, it measures 9.9mm, outclassing competitors like the Google Pixel Fold at 12.1mm. Even when open, the Magic V2 maintains its lead, being just under 2 mm thinner than the OnePlus Open, according to the Android Authority report. This sleek design ensures a comfortable and compact user experience. (HONOR)
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3/5 HONOR Magic V2 Display: The foldable showcases an innovative display technology. On the outside, a 6.43-inch 120Hz LTPO cover screen dazzles with a vibrant OLED display, boasting a 20:9 aspect ratio and 2,500 nits peak brightness. Unfolded, the device reveals a 7.92-inch LTPO OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, 1,600 nits peak brightness, and nanocrystal glass protection. Both screens support stylus input with sub-millisecond response times. (HONOR)
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4/5 HONOR Magic V2 Camera: Equipped with a sophisticated camera system, the HONOR Magic V2 doesn't compromise on photography. Dual 16MP selfie shooters grace the cover display and the folding screen, while the rear boasts a triple camera setup, including a 50MP main shooter, a 50MP ultrawide lens, and a 2.5x 20MP telephoto camera. Whether capturing selfies or scenic vistas, the Magic V2 delivers exceptional image quality. (HONOR)
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5/5 Performance and Availability: Under the hood, the HONOR Magic V2 houses an overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, akin to the one found in the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. The European variant offers a single memory and storage configuration: 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Despite being a premium product, the device lacks wireless charging but compensates with a 5,000mAh dual silicon-carbon battery supporting 66W wired charging. Priced at 1,699.99 euros, the Magic V2 is available for pre-order in Black Vegan Leather and Phantom Purple, with official sales beginning on February 2 through various retailers, including HONOR, Amazon, Very, Argos, and Curry.  (HONOR)
Honor Magic 6 Pro
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An Honor Magic 6 Pro smartphone set up to demonstrate its human-centric intent-based AI at the Honor Device booth on the opening day of the MWC 2024. (Bloomberg)

A smartphone that can be charged in fewer than 40 minutes. Even better: a tiny nuclear battery that could keep it running for 50 years. Facing consumers who are fed up with having to plug in their phones all the time, device makers are racing to develop more potent batteries that can charge faster and last longer. Telecom firms highlighted some of the progress they've made at the industry's biggest annual show, the four-day Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, which got underway in Barcelona on Monday.

"All manufacturers are looking to have better performing batteries. There is a sense that it is an area that is lagging behind, that we have to move forward," Forrester Research analyst Thomas Husson told AFP.

As smartphone models have become increasingly similar, having a better battery is a way to "stand out from the crowd," he added.

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Since the first smartphones hits the market in the 2000s, there have been several advances in the battery field, such as wireless charging, but there is still much room for improvement.

The growing popularity of power-hungry applications such as gaming and social media is fuelling demand for "mobile batteries with high battery capacity" and spurring the race for innovation among manufacturers, Allied Market Research wrote in a research note.

The majority of smartphones currently run on lithium-ion batteries that are made up of rare materials such as lithium, cobalt and manganese whose prices have soared and which degrade as time passes.

To get around this problem, manufacturers are exploring alternatives using lithium sulphur or graphene which may last longer and rely on less rare elements.

- AI needs -

Chinese handset maker Honor has developed a new higher capacity battery technology which uses silicon-carbon for its new AI-infused flagship Magic 6 smartphone, which it says can fully charge in less than 40 minutes and last longer than those of its main competitors.

It is the top smartphone battery in a ranking compiled by DXOMARK, a commercial website that scientifically assesses handsets.

As AI features use more energy "of course we need a powerful battery life," Honor CEO George Zhao said at the global launch of the phone in Barcelona on Sunday.

South Korean giant Samsung is reportedly developing a solid-state battery which can store more energy, charge faster and offers greater safety. It aims to launch it in 2027. 

Its main rival Apple -- which last year overtook Samsung as the world's top seller of smartphones -- is developing its own battery technology with a view to introducing its designs into mobile devices, perhaps as soon as 2025, according to South Korean newspaper ET News. 

Battery making had usually been outsourced but device makers are now increasingly seeking to "reduce their dependency on certain suppliers" as they are already doing with chips, said Husson.

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- Nuclear charge -

Chinese startup Betavolt Technology unveiled a new nuclear battery in January which it said it can power a smartphone for 50 years without the need for recharging.

The Beijing-based company said the next-generation battery is the first in the world to realise the miniaturisation of atomic energy, placing nickel-63 isotopes into a module smaller than a coin.

The company, which is not attending the Barcelona event, did not say when the battery would be mass produced for commercial applications, saying only that it was in the pilot testing stage.

The improvements are sometimes required by legislators.

The European Union parliament approved new rules in June to make batteries more sustainable by imposing minimum levels of recycled content which they must use and be more durable.

"There is more money being spent on battery technology than ever before because of the electric vehicle development. So it is quite an exciting time for batteries," Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told AFP.

“If someone could crack the battery problem, it would be a game changer. Imagine having a mobile phone that lasts two week, it would be amazing. But we are years and years away from that happening.”

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First Published Date: 27 Feb, 19:13 IST