MIPI Alliance Enhances its Battery Interface Specification with “Smart Battery” Capabilities for Mobile Devices

The MIPI Alliance, an international organization that develops interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries, has announced updates to its Battery Interface Specification (BIF) for mobile devices. The new specification, MIPI BIF v1.1, makes it more practical and convenient for manufacturers to implement “smart” features in device batteries, facilitates the use of new high-performance batteries, and adds communications methods that improve battery safety and overall performance.

“The battery is a critical component in a mobile device and its deployment in a product has direct impact on the consumer experience and the mobile device ecosystem,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of the board of MIPI Alliance. “MIPI BIF v1.1 will give companies a set of functions they can use to develop innovative, service-differentiating battery functions while improving battery safety—all via this single interface solution.”

The MIPI BIF specification is a single-wire hardware and software interface for connecting a power management chip in a phone to a smart or low-cost rechargeable battery. It is the only mobile-to-battery communication interface specification in the industry, offering manufacturers a uniform solution to replace proprietary interfaces. It also provides the communications and intelligence capability needed to measure fundamental battery operational conditions, such as temperature, or to verify a battery’s authenticity. The adoption of MIPI BIF in the mobile industry has also enabled manufacturers to offer interoperable battery products, reduce chipset space and streamline design, implementation and testing of their components to accelerate product time-to-market while lowering costs.

The new release, v1.1, enhances the MIPI BIF specification with additional “smart battery” functions that can be applied in smartphones, tablets and mobile-influenced devices that use removable or embedded batteries. One of the specification’s most important new features is a fuel gauge interface that can monitor a battery’s charge and other conditions that characterize the health of the battery. The specification also introduces sophisticated charging enhancements: it supports the safe, fast charging of new, high-performance batteries and it also enables companies to develop their own battery charging parameters to ensure safe operation and maximize battery life. Additionally, the v1.1 specification makes the interface more robust by defining device recovery behavior from unexpected battery contact breaks or other communication errors.

“Battery chemistries are constantly evolving to provide higher power densities, faster charging and other benefits to consumers yet these more advanced features also create new battery control and management requirements,” said Wolfgang Furtner, vice chair of the MIPI Alliance Battery Working Group. “Manufacturers need a smart battery interface to take advantage of these capabilities and with MIPI BIF v1.1, they now have the opportunity to enable these features and extend the benefits of smart batteries to more products.”

MIPI BIF is already supported by multiple mobile chipset manufacturers and battery IC manufacturers. It has been successfully adopted for use in smart phones that are commercially available on the market for consumers. Companies that are using the specification include Infineon, Microsoft, Mitsumi, Sharp, STMicroelectronics, and UNH-IOL, among others.

For more information about MIPI BIF v1.1, please visit http://bit.ly/MIPI-BatteryInterface.