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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"

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

3 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.