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Better battery life? Huawei says its lithium-ion smartphone cell charges 10 times faster

After building Google's fast-charging Nexus 6P, Huawei is showing off its even faster-charging battery of the future.

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Huawei says its lithium-ion battery's configuration allows it to charge to half-full in five minutes. Image: Huawei

The race is on to find something better than lithium-ion batteries for mobile devices, but a new battery developed by Huawei could keep lithium-ion attractive for a while yet -- and complicate the argument for wireless-charging.

According to Huawei, it has created a new configuration for a lithium-ion battery that allows it to be charged 10 times faster than current batteries, which could give an edge to Huawei's handsets, wearables and mobile-networking equipment.

Huawei showed off its new quick-charging lithium-ion batteries in a video presentation at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan last week, demonstrating that a 3,000mAh battery with an energy density of 620Wh/L could be recharged to 48 percent in five minutes.

It also showed a 600mAh battery that could be charged to 68 percent in two minutes.

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"[It] bonded heteroatoms to the molecule of graphite in anode, which could be a catalyst for the capture and transmission of lithium through carbon bonds," Huawei explained. "The heteroatoms increase the charging speed of batteries without decreasing energy density or battery life."

Huawei is optimistic about its discovery, pointing out its use in mobile phones, electric vehicles, wearable devices and mobile power supplies. It said it is aiming to develop a battery that can reach a full charge during a coffee break.

The developments at Huawei come just as Samsung has been throwing its weight behind fast wireless charging as a key feature of its phones, to work around battery recharging hassles. It's even teamed up with Ikea for its range of wireless furniture.

Meanwhile Google has dropped support for Qi wireless charging in the new Nexus 5X from LG and Nexus 6P from Huawei after supporting it since the Nexus 4.

In a recent Reddit 'Ask Me Anything', Google's Nexus team explained that the USB Type-C port addressed the key problem of relying on USB cords, namely their non-reversible plugs. Also, it highlighted that Huawei's Nexus 6P could reach full charge in 97 minutes with the first 45 minutes charging "especially fast".

The reason to forgo wireless charging was that it added thickness to the device.

"So, ease of plugging in + fast charging + optimizing for thinness made us double down on Type-C instead of wireless," the Nexus team wrote.

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