Moore’s Law, which states the number of transistors that can be placed on a single circuit will increase exponentially, doubling every year, has so far proven to be extremely accurate.
Due to the shrinking of the transistors, which make up the core foundation of the microprocessor, computer speeds have been increasing every year. To match the incredible speeds of the new microprocessors, other essential components of the computer need to advance as well. These essential components include graphics processors, the system memory (the RAM), solid-state storage memory (the hard drive) and input devices (the mouse, keyboard, etc.) However, this great advancement of computer technology brings with it greater power consumption. While the essential idea behind storing massive amounts of energy in a relatively small space is incredible, battery technology has failed to keep up with the components that it needs to fuel.
While battery technology such as lithium ion has given the consumers a temporary solution, why hasn’t a more significant breakthrough occurred? For instance, my iPhone needs to be charged everyday due to its short battery life – with all of the great features that this technologically advanced device offers, I really wish that a more efficient battery were available.
Laptops, which dominate college campuses, only last about a maximum of four to five hours. What is really annoying is when you have three to four lectures back-to-back and your laptop runs out of fuel. The industry realizes battery technology has not caught up to the rest of the components. One of the main paradigm shifts for technology companies is efficiency – especially in processors, solid-state storage and software.
Battery life isn’t the only problem that technology companies face. Another issue is the decline of the battery’s ability to hold a charge. Many people with laptops that are several years old know that their batteries are not what they used to be. There are several things you can do to keep your battery as healthy as possible. The main thing is to calibrate your battery. The procedure might be different for different brands, but on my MacBook Pro I have to charge the battery to 100 percent, then let it sit fully charged for two hours. Afterwards I disconnect the power and let it drain completely for five hours, then fully recharge the battery.
I do this once every couple months for several reasons. First, it keeps the juices flowing and healthy inside of the battery. This also recalibrates the power management unit – the computer inside the battery – and keeps monitoring its power levels. I suggest that laptop users completely drain their batteries once in a while to keep it in optimal shape.
The final problem batteries have besides their lifespan is the occasional explosion of batteries. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by the companies who utilize them. Recently, big name companies such as Apple, Toshiba, Lenovo, Gateway, HP and Dell have all recalled laptop batteries that were found to be liable to explode. Because most of these manufacturers used Sony batteries, Sony is ultimately to blame. However, these computer manufacturers need to have better quality control, because I sure don’t want my laptop to blow up in my face. It is important that if you do have a battery pack under recall, you need to immediately have it swapped.
To sum up what I have said here today: Batteries suck. The technology is simply not where it needs to be. In a world where you can get 8GB of storage in the palm of your hands, and 45-nanometer transistors (just as a comparison, the human hair is 90,000 nanometers,) batteries have to last longer than a few hours. Until then I still have to plug in my electronics every night.