SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Is battery life making the term ‘mobile’ redundant?

Posted by Admin on January 23, 2009

Here’s a second chance to see another post that originally appeared over Christmas.

– – –

I’ve recently bought a G1 and the battery life on it is shocking – less than a day of normal use seems to be the average so far. And if you use extra functions like GPS it seems to be even less than that. Fortunately for me I don’t use it as my main phone – I use almost exclusively for data and it’s not ‘mission critical’ to me if it’s dead for a while.

The G1 isn’t the only phone with poor battery life. There have been numerous reports of the iPhone’s poor battery – especially the 3G. If you search on Google under ‘iPhone poor battery’ you get over 250,000 results.

If you want to read a more detailed analysis of some of the technical issues, you can read Dean Bubley’s post here.

But I’m not interested in the technical background to this. Like the majority of mobile users I don’t care whether it is the fault of the hardware manufacturer, the software, the network or any other reason. What I do care about is that I’m getting a poor performance from my phone.

I want my phone to allow me to be connected while mobile. The main form of connection obviously is that I want to be able to make and receive voice calls – I want to be able to talk to people while I’m away from a landline. I also want to be able to send text messages. Now, I’ve got a ‘clever’ phone which also allows me to check email, go on the internet, check my location or get directions, play games and a whole host of other cool stuff – I’d like to be able to do that while I’m out and about too.

But it seems that I can’t – I can’t be truly mobile because I’ve got to make sure that I’m close to a power socket every 24 hours or so.

So what to do … Well as a user I start to rationalise my usage. What’s most important to me – well firstly it’s being able to receive calls, then it’s the ability to make them, then it’s all the other stuff. So I just cut back. Firstly on all the other stuff, then if the battery’s low on making calls too.

If my battery’s low, I’m effectively carrying around a pager.

I’m not sure that’s what all the new, exciting smartphones were intended to be … but without decent battery life that’s all they are.


4 Responses to “Is battery life making the term ‘mobile’ redundant?”

  1. […] SMSisthenewblack injects a dose of reality into the current excitement around smartphones. Check out what he is complaining about! […]

  2. mbace said

    Very true, the biggest problem is the battery life and no wireless docking stations are gonna help that. What we need is to at least double the time of the active time gadgets get, maybe it can be done soon, but so far it seems that battery life has remained in a slump for the past decade.

    I would like to see a future where I wouldn’t have to stop listening to my music just so I can make a phone call later that night.

  3. smsisthenewblack said

    Hi Mbace

    I agree, double the amount of usable time is the least that we need. And you’re right, there’s nothing worse than having to ration the usage of your device because you know the battery will die on you if you don’t.

    It’s not how I expect to be able to use my mobile device.

  4. That’s really a problem. People say the new touch generation is getting better. You recommend other devices?

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