Dyson-Backed Startup Could Double Your Smartphone's Battery Life

Apple's Jony Ive thinks consumers want thinner smartphones rather than longer battery life. I say that's hogwash, which is why I'm cautiously optimistic about yet another battery technology that promises to keep our gadgets running longer. In this case, it's a lithium-ion battery that stores twice as much energy, and it's supposedly close to commercialization.

Yes, it's true that we've heard a plethora of battery breakthroughs and promising technologies that promises to shake up the industry before, yet not much as really changed in the past several years. Why? Many of the breakthroughs we hear about in the battery industry use expensive materials and manufacturing techniques that make them cost prohibitive.

This one is supposedly different. A startup called Sakti3 is building prototypes of its battery-doubling technology using standard manufacturing equipment. Its method is attracting eyeballs from various industries, most recently from appliance-maker Dyson, which just invested $15 million into the startup. That's in addition to the $50 million Sakti3 has already raised from Kholsa Ventures, General Motors, and other firms.

Dyson Cordless
Dyson may use Sakti3's battery technology in its line of cordless vacuums

The deal with Dyson is a joint development agreement in which the company will use Sakti3's batteries in its new line of products. Dyson didn't say which ones, though a likely bet is its cordless vacuum cleaner. The company also makes fans, heaters, and hand dryers.

"Sakti3 has achieved leaps in performance which current battery technology simply can't," Dyson founder and chief engineer James Dyson said in a statement.

Sakti3 is using materials and manufacturing techniques that allow for higher density batteries. These are solid-state batteries that, unlike traditional lithium-ion batteries, don't use liquid electrolytes. Instead, solid-state batteries consist of a dense layer of solid material.

Applications for Sakti3's battery technology are widespread -- everything from smartphones and other handheld gadgets to cordless vacuums and all the way up to electric vehicles. It's very promising, though we'll have to wait and see if the relatively affordable prototypes can translate over to mass production.