One of the biggest complaints about today’s smartphones is that battery life just isn’t good enough, but according to a new report, Google has killed a secret project that could have given future devices up to ten times more life in between charges.
Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group has been working on innovative new battery technology that could significantly increase the use of mobile devices when they are away from mains power.
ATAP, which has also developed the Project Ara modular smartphone, typically gives new initiatives two years to see if they yield good results, and those that don’t are then chopped before Google wastes any more time and resources on them.
“That fast-moving, scrap-it-if-it-don’t-work mindset by was brought to Google ATAP by Dr. Regina Dugan, the ex-DARPA chief who came to Google when it bought Motorola back in 2012,” explains Business Insider.
“Not only are projects killed after two years, but the project managers in charge of them are let go. It creates a sense of urgency that requires researchers to make the most of their time.”
But according to an ex-Google ATAP researcher who has been speaking to The Wall Street Journal, the battery project was dropped after just nine months because it wasn’t good enough, and the lab needed to move on.
This proves just how difficult it is to improve upon the lithium-ion batteries that are already powering today’s portable devices. While battery life has long been a concern as smartphones and tablets get faster processors and bigger, sharper displays, the only method of increasing it at this point is to simply use a bigger battery.
Researchers and scientists have discovered new battery technologies that seem promising at first, but time and time again they’ve proven incredibly difficult to mass produce. If Google cannot make it work with all its money and resources, you can imagine how hard it is for others.
For the foreseeable future, then, we’ll have to rely on the technologies we’re already familiar with, and hope that manufacturers can continue to build more efficient processors, memory modules, and displays that help increase battery life with existing lithium-ion solutions.
Google ATAP, which is dedicated to mobile technology, has produced other successful products before, such as Project Tango, the 3D mapping tool that was moved into Google to be used in augmented reality games.
“Two more projects will go from Google ATAP into Google properly, which we may hear more about at the Google I/O developer event later this spring,” Business Insider says.