Sony plans to introduce a new high-capacity battery in 2020 that will enable smartphones and other devices to run 40% longer. Sony says that its new battery could power the latest Apple iPhone, the 6s, for 14 hours while the device is connected to the Internet. Batteries could also be made 30% more compact while maintaining current run times, letting manufacturers build smaller devices.
Most batteries use positive electrodes made from lithium cobalt oxide and other such compounds.
Sony's battery is using a sulfur compound, which allows for storing more electricity than other batteries.
Previous attempts at sulfur-bearing batteries have seen the electrode dissolve into the electrolyte over repeated charge cycles, shrinking capacity. Sony has managed to overcome that problem, in part by reformulating its electrolyte solution.
A number of other new technologies are also under development. Solid-state batteries, which use solid rather than flammable liquid electrolytes, have drawn attention for their safety. Metal-air batteries, which draws oxygen from ambient air, are notable for their high capacities. Yet sulfur-bearing batteries have drawn high hopes as a potential power source for devices including smartphones and wearables, as advances have been made in increasing the products' capacity and operational life.
Sony commands only around an 8% share of the current compact lithium-ion market, while Samsung SDI, LG Chem and Panasonic each control around 20%, Techno Systems Research reports.
Besides the optimistic plans in battery technology, Sony Mobile Communications is likely to reduce the number of new smartphones launched in 2016, and consequently the vendor may also dismiss its R&D unit in Taiwan.
Sony Mobile launched five models in 2015 and is likely to release only two models in 2016.