Battery charger promises full power after 30 seconds

by Liam McCabe

posted Monday, April 14, 2014 at 9:54 AM EST


A dead smartphone is a hassle, but a dead camera battery is a catastrophe if you’re in the middle of a shoot—that is, only as long as batteries still charge at a glacial pace.

Startup firm StoreDot is working on a way to almost eliminate charge times. Last week, they unveiled a prototype that can fully charge a Samsung Galaxy S4 in 30 seconds. The charging tech should easily apply to camera batteries as well, since smartphones and cameras both (almost always) use lithium ion packs.

Camera batteries tend to operate at a higher voltage than smartphone batteries, though the capacities aren’t all that different—the Galaxy S4 stores 2600mAh while the pack for a Canon 5D Mark III stores 1800mAh. So fast-charge times would probably be similar for a high-end DSLR. That could save the day on an important shoot.

StoreDot is aiming for a commercial release sometime in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. The final product should be about the size of a smartphone, and should cost $30—or about twice the price of a regular phone charger. While this particular device almost certainly wouldn’t work with a camera battery (or most Li-ion packs for that matter), it’d be a surprise if somebody didn’t license the technology and tap into the camera market.

Update: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most of the coverage missed out on the detail that StoreDot isn't fast-charging a stock S4 battery—they've equipped it with a proprietary pack. So they'll sell you a charger for $30, but how much for the battery? And how much of a charge can it hold? It's not out of the realm of possibility that this could be a step forward for consumer battery tech, but we'll have to temper our expectations a bit.

(Via USA Today)