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Battery breakthrough could keep smart phones charged for an entire week

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For years now, batteries have been the weak link in most consumer electronics. Take smart phones, for example. You can stream video in HD over a fast 4G data connection, but you won’t be able to do it for long without plugging in. The blazing multi-core chips that allow laptops to multitask effectively also drain their batteries in just a few hours under heavy use. But scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago announced a breakthrough last week that could result in lithium-ion batteries (the kind found in most rechargeable gadgets) with a 10-fold increase in both battery life and charging speed.

Just to put that in perspective, imagine being able to use your smart phone for a solid week without getting a low-battery warning – and then being able to charge it up again in just minutes. The technology is still a long way from mass production, but BBC News quotes one scientist from the team as saying that these new batteries could hit the market in three to five years.

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