Friday, July 15, 2011

Smart phones need smart power

I’ve been off on holiday recently and for most of the time I didn’t use the voice dialling or Internet capabilities of my mobile. The HTC Desire that I exchanged for my 3G iPhone last Summer stayed indoors most of the time, while I mainly spent my days with the family &friends out in the sunshine.

Note: The main reasons for this were that we couldn’t get a signal where we are plus Mrs Sutherland had made it expressly clear that I needed to stop checking the thing all the time (or nasty & painful things would have happened to me). However, there were times when I needed to take my smartphone with me, to use as a compass, GPS, camera, map or (heavens above) for calling someone should an emergency occur… such as when I went mountain biking.

But after only a few hours of light use, my phone would run out of power and I was typically left with a useless oblong weight in my pocket or backpack. Put quite plainly, my smart phone’s battery is the device’s worst feature and probably the key reason why I will change it as soon as I can. Yes, I am aware that I have significantly contributed to its now incredibly short battery life and can either buy a replacement or even another one as backup… but that’s not really the point. The fully-featured and far more powerful laptop I am currently using to type up this blog posting is older than the HTC, it would cost about the same amount to buy (if I had bought the HTC off the shelf and considering it has paid-for Windows Vista installed, compared with the free Google Android OS on the phone, makes the laptop a bargain!), gets daily use and is powered via the mains intermittently and wherever possible. Yet, it is the mobile phone that is now plugged into the only available power socket….

Surely if available battery technology is not sufficient to power the modern smartphone for longer than a typical business day…. then manufacturers really need to look at the ways they can optimise the power usage of the device or be more honest about the longer-term battery life that users can expect.

In short, I really think that these days smart phones now really need smart power ….
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