Dyson invests in new battery technology that could boost smartphones and more

Dyson, a manufacturer of bag-free vacuum cleaners and fans without blades, announced a $15 million (€14.2 million) deal that could see the company become an unlikely hero to the smartphone industry.

The UK-based company invested in Sakti3, a company started by University of Michigan researchers who developed a solid state battery technology capable of holding twice the energy of current Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) variants. Dyson's deal will see it contribute to the future development and commercial launch of Sakti3's battery technology, the Guardian reported.

Dyson's investment is the company's first in an external company and grants it exclusive rights to produce and use Sakti3's batteries, the Financial Times noted.

Founder Sir James Dyson said the solid state battery technology holds great potential compared to today's liquid-based Li-Ion batteries, offering power outputs that were unimaginable as recently as two years ago, the FT added.

Sakti3 said its technology offers "high production rates, and scalable, low capex-to-revenue production methods" and have "demonstrated very high energy density battery cells."

The company adds that its goal is to "build batteries everywhere--for all kinds of applications." According to the Guardian, those applications range from smartphones through to electric cars--effectively any product that currently relies on a liquid-based Li-Ion power plant.

Sakti3's technology relies on solid lithium electrodes in place of liquid electrolytes, which the company said allows it to produce batteries that are more powerful but smaller than current batteries, the FT noted.

Battery life has been an increasingly contentious issue as mobile phones turned 'smart' and the number of services and applications operated through the devices increased well beyond their original remit of making phone calls.

Samsung boasted of advances it has made in charging times for its new flagship Galaxy S6 smartphone during presentations at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company said users can glean four hours of battery life from just a 10-minute charge.

Research company CCS Insight last year noted that battery life is again becoming a key selling point for handset makers, and predicted manufacturers will increasingly focus on power saving tools as a point of differentiation.

For more:
- see this Financial Times article (sub. req.)
- read the Guardian's report
- view Sakti3's explanation

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