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If Microsoft has its way, smartphone battery life could last up to a week at some point in the near future. That's the claim from a team member at Microsoft Research who stated this week that longer battery life can be obtained by making some software and design tweaks to current smartphones.

Speaking at the MIT Technology Review's Digital Summit in San Francisco this week, Microsoft researcher Ranveer Chandra pointed out that it has taken 15 years for the density of batteries to double. He says there are other ways to extend battery life right now rather than wait for advances in that technology.

One method that Microsoft has experimented with is putting in two smaller lithium-ion batteries inside a smartphone, rather than one larger battery. The idea is that one of the smaller power packs could be used to generate a larger current when there is an application that needs the extra power, like a game. The other battery could run at a lower current for when the smartphone is in idle mode.

Chandra says that prototypes that have been built with this dual battery design have seen battery life last as much as 50 percent longer compared to the single battery method.

Another method that's being tried out is called E-Loupe. Chandra says this involves installing software on a smartphone that can find apps that are using a lot of battery power, even when they are not being used, and either shut them down or slow their activity.

There's certainly a lot that could be done to increase battery use in smartphones and other mobile devices, and hopefully some of these methods, such as the ones that are being developed by Microsoft, will find their way into the consumer market sooner rather than later. And, of course, there are things like the screen and radios that take up the majority of the juice in day-to-day use — those are still going to need some doing.

What kind of battery life are you getting from your Windows Phone?

Source: MIT Technology Review