Photo: Qnovo

Battery technology is notorious for being slow to advance, with improvements in chemistry not coming nearly as fast as in other aspects of computing. One startup's solution: Use the power of software to get more from the batteries we have.

Why it matters: Battery life is tremendously important to consumers, and ensuring battery safety is also high on the list of needs for those who make phones. Just ask Samsung, which had to recall its entire Galaxy Note 7 line after a small number of the millions of early devices ignited.

Background: Qnovo, based in Newark, California, has been working on this for nearly a decade. Its technology, used by LG, Sony and some Chinese phone makers, already allows smartphones to adaptively charge their batteries, helping improve performance and battery life.

What's new: Today, the company is announcing that its latest software can also help detect batteries that are prone to failure.

Qnovo CEO Nadim Maluf tells Axios that what seems logical now engendered quite a bit of skepticism when the company first laid out its plans.

  • "Everyone was like 'You are going to do what, to the battery — with software?" he said. "The first few years were rough."
  • Things have been picking up since 2016 when it signed Sony as its first customer.

What's next: Maluf says Qnovo sees as much or more opportunity for its battery technology inside of electric cars, where bigger batteries mean failures could be even more damaging.

Go deeper ... "Smartphone ownership is rising around the world"

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Trump pushes back on changes to upcoming presidential debates

Photo: Jim Watson, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump suggested Thursday that he'll resist any moves that could cut off candidates' microphones in the next debate if he continues to talk over his opponent and the moderator.

  • "Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?" he tweeted.

The big picture: White House and campaign officials insist Trump is still committed to two remaining debates, despite fallout from Tuesday including poor reviews and discussions of new guardrails.

Health officials urge flu shots, warning of "twindemic" with COVID-19

Data: NFID survey, Aug. 17-19, 2020; Note: Margin of error for the total survey is ±4.4%; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans need to prioritize getting their influenza vaccine now, public health officials warned Thursday.

Why it matters: The seasonal flu combined with the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a "twindemic" with increased chances of co-infections and an overwhelmed health system. Because symptoms are similar and diagnostics aren't fast, people can best mitigate their risks with the flu shot plus social distancing and mask-wearing this fall and winter.

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House prepares to pass revised COVID relief bill as White House talks hit roadblock

Schumer and Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House is planning to move ahead Thursday with Democrats' revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill as 11th-hour negotiations with the White House continue.

The latest: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by phone at 1 p.m., following a 90-minute meeting on Capitol Hill Wednesday — the first in-person meeting between the two since August, when negotiations stalled. The two plan to speak again later this afternoon, according to a Pelosi aide.