Semiconductor pioneer improves battery technology for a whole range of mobile devices
Texas Instruments, the third largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, has launched a set of integrated circuits (ICs) for single-cell lithium-ion batteries it claims reduce recharge time by 50 percent.
The ‘bq2419x’ family includes seven chips and can supply power twice as fast as the current solutions, thanks to a unique battery path impedance compensation system.
Besides smartphones and tablets, the technology could be used in 4G LTE routers, power banks, Wi-Fi speakers, portable medical equipment, and any other small, battery-powered devices.
Over the last few years, scientists have been slowly improving lithium-ion battery energy density, durability, cost and safety. However, the charging process has largely remained unchanged. Now, the company which produced the world’s first commercial silicon transistor, the first transistor radio and later, the first integrated circuit-based computer, is hoping to change mobile device charging forever.
The new “fast-charge units” are designed for 4.5A output and 20V input. They are based on the I2C interface and support the USB On-The-Go specification. The chips protect the battery and system during charging and run cool, with 92 percent efficiency at 2A and up to 90 percent efficiency at 4A of output current.
A programmable thermal management capability ensures additional safety and the new silicon meets Energy Star and European Union charging specifications.
Texas Instruments calls its creation the smallest, most integrated battery charging solution on the market. The chips measure 4x4mm and cost just $2.5 per unit, when bought in bulk. They are already available for order through the TI website.
According to IDC, smartphone shipments will grow almost 96 percent from 2012 to 2016 to reach 1.4 billion units. Tablet sales are expected to grow even faster (131.2 percent) during the same period, reaching 282.7 million units. The solid growth in these two markets is likely to ensure continuous demand for the new charger chips.
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