Friday, July 31, 2009

Projecting Power: Future GPS Will Draw Less Power

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, battery, battery, battery.  Can't say enough about it.  I'm always looking to the day when mobile devices truly last a full day's worth of work, use, and fun.  That day, unfortunately isn't coming for a while.  See, new technology generally are a few years away before they're ready for application in real life use.  Since we have not heard anything in the last 4-5 years, that means we're still waiting for a breakthrough announcement in battery technology.

But humans are natural problem-solvers.  CNet News is reporting that a new GPS platform will draw less power than the one in use today, thereby, indirectly extending battery use.  Of course, if you're like me, you simply turn off GPS, or anything else for that matter, when you're not using it. 

For the new GPS scheme, it will draw power in the 50-500 microamps where today's GPS chip draws power in the milliamps.  For a few hours of use, it adds up.

Is this enough?  Well, we won't know if there is going to be an observable difference in a day-to-day use but I think with faster and more efficient chips, OLED screens, wireless chips (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, radio, 3G or LTE) that also draw less and less power, perhaps all of these factors working together can extend battery life in terms we can measure.

Given what Apple was able to achieve in their Macbook Pro line by extending battery life by about 30%, I am hoping more efficient components and creative layouts of battery and the circuitry in the mobile devices and smartphones will be able to achieve the same measurable increase as well.

Sources:  CNet News

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