Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forget Day-Long Battery Life, I Want Mobile Devices To Last Months


Today, smartphone batteries are atrocious.  We’re lucky if we can make it half a day without charging up.  So, those con numbers about standby time, talk-times, and hours of use really doesn’t stand up in real world use.  A couple of months back, Intel was talking about all day battery life from devices running on their chips.  It’s likely they’re parsing between light use like checking e-mails, texting, taking a couple of pics and watching some Youtube video.

Now, look at your own use.  You’re probably more a moderate user.  And if you examine how you use your Android or iPhone from when you first go it to today (maybe months or years), you’ll realize that you’ve come to rely on your smartphone a lot more than when you first started using it.

Chances are, your Android LTE device will be running on fumes by late afternoon.  You’re lucky if you can get to an outlet in time or you’re just heading home.  What happens if you’re got a longer work day or are heading out to dinner and a movie?  You’re screwed in what it is.

What’s the solution?  Well, as much as I like the specs race (who doesn’t), maybe it’s time to think about what mobile really is.  And there has to be a balance between performance of the hardware, what we can do with it, and how long we can use devices for.

I keep coming back to my calculators and I’ve gone through many of them over the years.  If it wasn’t for the HP graphing devices (the first mobile devices as far as I’m concerned), it was those Casio calculators that you can use in trig and geometry classes that run on the ambient light in the classroom.  Or even my simple no-name calculator from Office Depot.  That also runs on a small solar cell.

And they run forever.  Even battery ones we use in the offices.  I don’t recall changing batteries on those things yet.

That’s the kind of battery life I want.  As far as I’m concerned, that should be where the next mobile revolution should come from.  I want something that runs on one charge for days.  No scratch that.  I want them running on one charge for weeks if not months.

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