I see two very different roles for Supercaps-DrQuine
Yes, you are right on both counts. These Vanderbilt researchers, however, also claim that their architecture can hold its charge as long as many batteries, plus they are seeking to improve them, thus giving them at least a fighting chance at taking over the battery function for some applications someday.
I see two very different roles for Supercaps. First, they can hold the short term power buffer and spare the batteries the frequent charge / discharge cycles they normally experience. Secondly, Supercaps can be charged very quickly and then transfer the charge to the battery at whatever rate the battery can tolerate. This would allow for quick partial recharges when power is available and then the charge could be gradually transferred to the device battery as you move on so the discharged Supercap is ready for another quick jolt of power at the next available recharging spot.
I did not read anything about the wear-tear and crack related issues in phone cases or in other structures. I assume that super-capacitor will need to be protected in the similar way that of the current Li-ion batteries.
Mogulman, you're right on with the turbo app. There is development work already going on in this area. Several companies are working on just that idea, one brief discussion is at the following link: http://jalopnik.com/5855317/will-bmws-electric-turbocharger-end-turbo-lag
Note the use of motor/generator, acting as generator driven by the exhaust turbine, charging supercap and batteries, instead of using wastegate, when full potential boost is not necessary.
I can see lots uses for this technology. One that comes to mind is on turbo chargers. Turbo chargers on a car have a problem that there is a lag between when you accelerate and it kicks in. A short high intensity discharge from a supercap could make the delay minimal.
You are rightly pitched the application of solar panels used in the calculators few years before, but actually the power requirement of the cell phone is far more higher as compared to that calculators, and the researches in the solar panel is not being able to cope up with the demands of the cell phone, but now it will be the right time if two technology can be combined to handle the functionality of Li-ion batteries it will be really a remarkable achievement.
You are right with the technology in its current incarnation, but the researchers claim that they are improving it enough that the volume of the case could contain a supercap large enough to power mobile devices in the future. Their short-term goal is to rival NiMH battery's density with Li-ion in their sights within a few years.