Cell Phone Battery History

These days you can’t step more than a few blocks outside or drive more than a mile or two down the road without seeing a cell phone in use. Considering the fact that just a few years ago the cell phone was a bulky, seldom used accessory, these marvelous communication devices are something that is a “must have device” in today’s Internet and computer centric world.

Early Cell Phone Batteries Did not Last Long

Believe it or not, the technology that powers our cell phones is based on the old two-way radios of the 1940s that were used in taxis and police cars. The very first primitive cell phone was used in 1946 by the Swedish police department. The phone worked using the principles of radio transmissions and it was good for six calls before the battery died. This first battery for operating a cell phone was actually a car’s battery and was hooked directly to the phone instead of being a separate battery like cell phone batteries are today. Most early cell phones were only able to be used in a vehicle because they needed such large amounts of battery power. Modern, small batteries of today had not yet been invented. Plus, these early phones were very large, heavy and bulky. For example, Eriksson had a mobile phone in the 1950s that was an astonishing 80 pounds! Imagine trying to carry that around with you 24/7! By the late 1960s mobile phones existed that would work in one cell phone calling area only, but they wouldn’t work once the users got a certain distance away from the assigned calling area. That technology wasn’t developed until the 1970s by an engineer at Bell Labs. By the time the first prototype of the modern cell phone appeared in 1973, the phone was capable of being used independently and worked in multiple calling regions. Cell phones were being tested in trials in Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore by 1977 and in Japan by 1979. These phones looked nothing like the sleek, tiny flip phones and smart phones we have today and could only run for 30 minutes without the cell phone battery needing a charge. Plus, that short-lived battery took a full 10 hours to recharge! Compare that to today when you can charge your phone via a home electric socket, the charging socket in your car or even via a USB charge with your computer, in just a few minutes. What’s the best solution if your cell phone battery does not last long? Free cell phone charging stations everywhere!

Cell phones evolved and improved over time

During the 1980s, the cell phone began to get more popular and a bit more practical, but it still was regulated mostly to usage in cars due to the large battery needs of these early models. Few could be carried outside of the car and the phrase “car phone” was the usual term for these devices. A few were built into briefcases, which could also hold the large cell phone batteries needed to power them. Makes you appreciate your compact mobile phone battery charger doesn’t it? By the 1990s, cell phones and their batteries were getting smaller and the networks to run them were also being improved. Phone systems like GSM, TDMA and CDMA came into existence and there were even digital phone networks in U.S. and Europe by 1991.These phones were able to be carried around and advances in making smaller batteries and computer chips to run them made them weight between 100 and 200 grams, a big improvement from the 20 to 80 pound bricks of the previous years or the briefcase sized cell phone batteries required to run them.

Smartphones revolutionized today’s modern cell phone

Fast forward to the year 2012 when just about everyone has a smart phone. Compared to that first primitive cell phone back in the 1950s, the smart phone is like science fiction or something out of Star Trek! You can call a friend, do a video chat, download your favorite tune, send a text or even make a reservation for dinner while you order up some flowers and chocolates to have delivered to your date. Batteries too have come a long way from the cell phone being tied to a car battery. Over the past few decades there have been several types of cell phone batteries.

Nickel Cadmium Cell Phone Batteries

Nickel Cadmium Batteries or NiCD were the batteries of choice during the 1980s and 90s. The main problem was that they were bulky and heavy, so that made the cell phones themselves end up large and bulky. Plus, after you recharged them a few times, they built up what is called a memory effect and didn’t always hold a charge. That caused dead cell phone batteries and that meant having to buy more and spend increasing amounts of money doing so. These batteries also had a tendency to get hot, which caused disturbances, plus one of the ingredients in the batteries was cadmium, which is toxic and is a problem to dispose of after the battery dies.

Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries

The next round of cell phone batteries were Nickel Metal Hydride, otherwise known as NiMH, which began in use during the later 1990s. It was non-toxic and had fewer problems with the memory effect issues. Plus, it was a thinner battery that weighed less, could be recharged in a shorter timeframe, and let users talk longer before they died. Lithium Ion Batteries Next in line were the lithium Ion batteries, which are still in use today. They are thinner and lighter still and last the longest of the others as well. Plus, it takes even less time to charge them too. They can be made into many different shapes and sizes to fit different styles of cell phones so any company can use them in their mobile devices. Plus, there is NO memory effect to worry about, so they last longer and can be recharged multiple times. They are also safe for the environment, unlike the earlier cell phone batteries. They are, however; much more expensive than the older battery models, but that is the trade off for a more efficient cell phone battery.

Lithium Poly Ion Batteries

The newest addition to the cell phone battery is the lithium poly icon or the Li-Poly battery, which has 40 percent more power than the old NiMh batteries. Plus, it is super light, and has no memory effect issue to cause charging problems. However, these batteries are not commonly used as yet, and are still pretty rare for now. All in all, both the technologies for the cell phone and its battery have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. What does the future bring for this technology? Only time and the innovative ideas of future scientists will tell. Until then, if you need to buy a universal phone charger, why not make it ChargeAll?

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