There have been at least a couple of underlying core concerns in the world of smartphones since the category exploded. One is whether the great guns of the hacker and cracker world will be turned with full force toward these enticing devices. Another is whether all the great and snappy things of which cutting-edge mobile devices are capable will be truncated by the fact that there is not enough power to drive them for a reasonable length of time.
The battle to keep batteries from being overwhelmed is a numbers game. Hossein Falaki, a Ph.D. candidate in the Computer Science Department of the School of Engineering and Applied Science UCLA, pointed to three variables that control the life of smartphone batteries: transistor density, the energy density of batteries and the increase in available bandwidth.
Over time, the strength of batteries - the energy density - is expanding more slowly than the others. "On mobile phones, the capacity of [lithium-ion] batteries have been increasing only linearly during the past few years and they are unlikely to keep up with the exponential pace of energy demand on smartphones," wrote Falaki in response to emailed questions. "Therefore, as smartphones become more and more capable in terms of computation, communication and display resolution, average battery lifetime is getting shorter."