Most smartphone users that have experienced an LTE data connection would agree that the speeds are great. Who doesn’t like downloading tens of megabytes worth of data in seconds? The trade-off with LTE is battery life. Most LTE enabled smartphones released in the last year or so do ok with regards to this high-speed data and battery life, but it’s not something that anyone would call “good.” Companies are working frantically to improve battery technology so that consumers can go longer between charges. Qualcomm has developed a new chip technology that it says can reduce the amount of power used by Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 3 LTE chip by 30%.
The new Qualcomm chip, called an envelope tracker, allows a phone to maintain its high-speed 4G connection without overheating or sacrificing battery life. It will not only reduce the power draw of the LTE connection in the Galaxy Note 3, but will allow the device to run a lot cooler than other smartphones. If the LTE power drain can be reduced by up to 30% for the Galaxy Note 3, imagine the possibilities for other devices.
A major issue with LTE connection causing battery drain is that the LTE technology needs a pretty high-powered amplifier to maintain a clean enough cellular signal to use. Because the mobile waveform oscillates, current devices simply output a wide, linear envelope to catch the cell signal at its highest peak. What this new Qualcomm chip does is match the envelope to the LTE waveform. By doing this, the radio draws less power because the peaks are smaller. The envelope tracker will help apps, especially apps that use data in the background, access that data pipe more efficiently and use less juice. The Galaxy Note 3 also has a large 3200 mAh battery, so this thing should keep you going all day, and then some.
Manufacturers should be quick to start using Qualcomm’s new chip. We might see this chip implemented in devices like the upcoming Nexus 5. Ask any smartphone or tablet user, and one of the things they want the most is more battery life. We’ll soon have a bit more power so we can tap in to that super-fast LTE data pipe even more.