MIT Engineers Develop Power Amplifier That Could Double Smartphone Battery Life

Battery life is a big deal for mobile devices from laptops on down to smartphones. One of the biggest drags on your smartphone’s battery life is the collection of power amplifiers involved in creating radio signals. Now, an MIT-based startup claims to have solved the engineering puzzle and can give smartphones significantly longer battery lives.

iPhone 5 Has Several Power Amplifiers

The iPhone 5 has several power amplifers in it. Eta Devices is working on technology that could conceivably put the work of all of them onto one chip.

Right now, many phones have multiple power amplifiers to handle various cell phone standards, including CDMA, GSM, and 4G/LTE. The path to lower power draw is a single power amplifier that handles all of these standards.

Creating such a chip is going to be a long haul, though, and the company, Eta Devices, will first commercialize a version of the technology aimed at reducing power waste in cellular towers. It can make the towers more efficient, saving both energy used by the towers in signal creation and energy used in ancillary devices, such as cooling and power backup devices. This first step is expected to become a reality in early 2013.