Charging Through Time: The Evolution of Mobile Charging

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Mobile charging
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You won’t dare leave your home without it—the mobile phone charger is essential to one’s everyday life. After all, people nowadays have a constant need to be connected all the time.

For those who are old enough to remember, do you recall the cell phone chargers back in the days?

Here’s a quick refresher of how mobile chargers have evolved over the years:

Name Weight (g) Size (cm) Charging Time (Hours) Capacity (mAh)
Cell phone charger (circa 1980s) 495 83 x 43 x 79 10 500
Compact phone chargers 399 7×4 4 1,000
Classic wall charger 100 varies 1 14,000
USB cable charger 50 30 to 35 2 to 4 300-1,600
Wireless charger Variable 6 x 6 3 8,000
Portable power banks 104 to 250 6 x 6 3 5,200
Solar charger 140 6 x 6 4 10,000
Car charger 30 4 x 2 2 1,420
Charging kiosk No data available 205 x 70 x 60 2 4,500


1980s mobile phone charger

This is what powered the then popular Motorola DynaTAC that used nickel cadmium batteries. It took 10 hours for this charger to recharge the batteries of these types of phones. And even so, these batteries could not hold a charge consistently.

Compact phone charger

This was used to power nickel metal hydride batteries, which held charge better than the nickel cadmium ones. Charging time was also reduced to only 4 hours, which was considered a breakthrough in mobile charging back then.

Classic wall charger

This is the typical charger that comes with today’s mobile phones. The classic wall charger works with Li-ion batteries. It can be connected using the integrated cable that it comes with or a USB cable. It also charges faster, with an average charging time of only 1 hour.

USB cable charger

This is another form of charger that we are all familiar with. It has an average charging time of 3 hours, depending on the amperage you choose. The USB cable charger also has data transfer capabilities, which add to its versatility. The only downside is that since it is connected to a computer instead of a power charger, charging time is four times slower than a traditional charger.

Portable power bank

This caters to the needs of consumers who are always on the go. The portable power bank can recharge mobile phones in 3 hours, and most come with a built-in USB charger. You can choose from either a high-capacity or a low-ranked portable power bank.

Wireless charger

This technology has been around since 2013, but it hasn’t gone mainstream yet. It uses inductive charging and rids you the hassle of using cables and plugs. Wireless chargers like the Bezalel Futura X also last longer than traditional chargers, as they prevent the wear and tear that usually happens with power cords (as a result of frequent plugging and unplugging). Wireless chargers replenish the charge on your phone in 2 hours and typically weigh 93 grams.

Solar mobile charger

As its name implies, this charger is powered by sunlight. To determine how many hours of direct sunlight you need to fully charge your mobile device, simply follow this formula: amperes per hour of the battery/amperes per hour of the charger + 10%.

Car charger

This comes in different types depending on the car model. Some car manufacturers like General Motors and BMW have integrated theirs with wireless charging capabilities

On the other hand, other cars charge phones the traditional way by connecting your charging cable through an adapter that re-purposes your cigarette lighter. There are also certain car models that come with a USB port that you can use as a charger. Both are powered by the car’s battery.

Charging kiosk

Typically found in public transportation terminals, convenience stores, coffee shops and gasoline stations, the charging kiosk has a variety of charging cables installed in it to cater to different mobile devices. All you have to do is pick the cable that’s compatible with your device, plug your device, and wait for charging to finish. It can charge your device in more or less 2 hours.

Mobile charging has come a long way from being an ultra bulky apparatus, to a sleek and portable device that can be carried around everywhere, and to a machine that can take care of every possible charging need. Who knows what mobile charging innovations will come up next.

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