…or perhaps not so humble, since this post was inspired by a top 12 best battery packs from Popular Mechanics.
Technology has gone a long way in just a decade. Narrowing the retrospective to just 4-5 years does not see a reduced impact – it seems that the progress is ever so intense, regardless of the short time span we analyze.
However, some things remain the same. What’s more puzzling is that we are talking about key hardware products.
Batteries still have a limited capacity, in all types of gadgets. The devices still have delicate racks and require accessories for protection. Each brand, each line of product needs dedicated power cords and batteries… Modularity and interchangeability still have a long way to go.
Are economy-related considerations stalling progress?
More than once, when documenting an emerging technology, we met with the phrase “standardization and centralization needed for it to gain traction”. Yes, since the technology world is amazingly fragmented and segmented, all devices and software-related technologies that work on big user networks meet a blocking factor sooner or later.
Why “amazingly fragmented”? Because the tech giants slowly, but definitely centralize and unify progress and future technologies at a global level. Seeing how this move is rather prone to raising monopoly –related worries, rather than fragmentation issues – what we see is an apparent paradox.
It only makes sense that big companies could back smaller ones, avoiding obvious competition infringements. But the fragmentation/segmentation stalling progress seems to contradict this. Who would back a smaller company whose products are not easy to integrate and which has to waste a lot of time – waiting for standardization, or taking it agreement by agreement to be compatible, and compliant?
Sure, when keeping products and technologies separate, reuse/translation decreases, and the waste levels are worryingly high – but so are profit margins. One user will have as many chargers and batteries as devices, although he/she only uses one device at once. But he will have bought the same thing – in essence – two-five times more. Cha-Ching!
Perhaps economic considerations should be left to the professionals in this field. All that is available to the unprofessional eye is that technology still has a long way to go until progress flows, and employs the huge potential of a global network of users.
Back to batteries
The best smartphone, filled with the latest, coolest apps, personalized with a smart case, paired with a smart watch – and it is still tributary to a battery. Once the under 10% indicator blinks its red light – it’s time to look for an electrical plug. Remember all those iPhone users’ jokes? “How do you know an iPhone user? He’s always in search of an electrical plug”.
Where is the large-scale success of motion charged devices? Oh, judging by a review of watch types, once you want a motion charged watch the price skyrockets. But modern devices don’t seem to aim for affordable, reduced prices in the last couple of years (again, I’m thinking iPhones). How is it that higher prices don’t bring more resistance and innovative power sources? R&D teams don’t have this on their plates? We can assume they don’t.
Coming back to earth, you can check the Popular Mechanics top here – and explore how much you have to add to the cost of your beloved portable device, in order to avoid the blackout perils.