All mobile phones come equipped with a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. This battery is the source that powers all the components of the phone: display, camera, speaker, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, sensors and antenna.
From the early mobile phones to the latest phones, battery capacity has significantly increased. This increase is due to the amount of technological features that have evolved in the past ten years. The main feature of early mobile phones was to make and receive calls. As the telecommunication technology shifted from analog to digital, and since the launch of the first iPhone, features like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, sensors, and apps are commonly found in all of the modern day mobile phones.
Applications that run on smartphones can heavily use the processor, LCD screen, GPS, and transfer data with Wi-Fi or 4G/5G. Each of these features draws a significant amount of power, especially if they are all used at the same time. Therefore, while making a call is one of the highest-power functions of a conventional mobile phone, a smartphone’s state-of-the-art features are capable of consuming much more power .
With the increase in number of features, power consumption has also significantly increased. One of the most power consuming features is video streaming and social media over the carrier network. With the evolution of 5G network and advancement in the data speeds, today’s mobile devices consume more and more power. Because 5G deployment is only limited to certain cities and areas across the country, the constant switching between 5G network and 4G network has a significant impact on battery life.
While the first generation network (1G) was only limited to speeds of 2.4Kbps (kilo-bits per second), the latest 5G network speeds can be 10Mbps (Mega-bits per second), up to 1,000 times faster than 4G network.
The second most power-consuming feature in today’s mobile devices is the display screen. While the early mobile devices had a display, which were the same size as the modern day smartwatches, the latest mobile devices have displays the size of a human palm. The early display screens were low power consuming, made from TFT (Thin Film Transistor), while today’s modern day display screens are high-resolution, made from OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode), which consume much more power.
The size increase and technology of the display screen, combined with constant video streaming and social media over the carrier network, drains the mobile phone’s battery much faster.
Over the last few years the mobile phone battery has only improved incrementally. However, the complexity in today’s mobile phones and the need to always be connected have increased exponentially. Because of the complexity increase and constant need for today’s generation to keep up with social media and video streaming, the amount of power a mobile phone can consume is much faster than the advancement in battery technology .
In today’s world, we are getting used to doing everything on the mobile phone and unless something dramatic happens with the battery technology, there will be a constant need for charging faster and/or charging more frequently.