Mobile devices: it is all about the battery

012110-small2The tech world has been abuzz with the recent announcements of the iPhone 6 and 6+. There is no doubt that these are exciting new devices for Apple although the curmudgeonly might argue that these are catch up devices to bring Apple more in line with their Android competitors. Regardless, there is an element of the announcement that I find disappointing and to be fair, it is a complaint that I have with most of the latest mobile technology – battery life.

Battery life is a key metric for device usability. What good is an iPhone or Galaxy S if its battery life is short? Sure, it has mobile payments, GPS and health tracking, but all of this is irrelevant if the phone is dead. Yet the newest announcements highlight features like higher speed wireless radios, new phone sensors, thinner form factors or bigger screens and virtually all of these impact battery life in a negative way. It seems that buyers are so enamored with these additions that they ignore the fact that battery life sucks. Yet if I look back just a few years ago, we had phones where battery life was measured in days and weeks versus the sub 12-hour life which is common today.

Why have we grown to accept this new reality of being slaves to our power cords? In my view, the primary culprit is feature creep. My old Blackberry was really good at two things – 1. phone calls and 2. email and its hardware and battery life were optimized for those activities. Today’s phones are veritable Swiss army knives and can do virtually everything. I believe that we have been blinded by these broad feature sets and have lost track of the importance of battery life. I am raising the battle flag in this post! We need to refocus on battery life and my next phone purchase will be heavily weighted towards this metric.

What do you think? Are you happy with your phone’s battery life?

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