I do not always follow every iDevice rumour but the one I do hope would come true (and not just for iDevices) is extending battery life further.
High End Version of New iPads Get Extra Battery Life
Reports are coming in that Apple will be unveiling two versions of iPad3 this early 2012, one for the high-end segment and one for the mid-range segment. One rumored improvement of these new devices over their predecessor is longer battery span, which will be increased to 14,000mAH.
This rumour is probably absolute nonsense but I hope device designers out there really start to focus on battery life as a primary feature of a mobile device, and not as a secondary one. Devices need to be able to run through a heavy working day with some spare capacity without the need for me to carry my trusty recharger.
Since the Late 2010 MacBook Air was released, there has been a huge amount of interest in the small and light space. Now the headlines are coming through asking the obvious bait question:-
Is the new MacBook Air eating into iPad sales?.
Until the recent release, most people were posting about whether the iPad was eating into Netbook sales. This sounds repetitive but I do not doubt the figures. There is variation in demand for these tools.
I prefer however to look at the wider situation – the one where I see netbooks used all over by many people and I also see many people using iPads, and also see many people using what could be called netbooks, but are actually ultralight notebooks. It all comes down to mobility and what people feel is useful for their particular situation, and I see the future for all of them.
I see this because I have netbooks, an iPad and an ultra-light notebook and use them according to need and suitability. I use my netbook when I want something small but I also want to generate content, and make use of particular software. I use my iPad for home browsing and quick consumption of content (particularly electronic magazines) within my home. I use my ultra-light for actual day to day work. I have a use for all of them…
They all have two things in common – good size for portable use and lots of battery life.
The iPhone has (like many 3G smartphones) always had poor battery life when using connectivity for email sync etc. As new firmwares have become available, this life has improved generally, so that I have only had to recharge twice a day sometimes. However with the release of the 3.1 firmware, my battery life took a tumble so that I was in fact charging four times a day. This has been documented elsewhere on the Internet, and as a travelling man this had become almost impossible to keep going through the whole business day. Even with going to the 3.1.2 firmware, there was no improvement.
Then I accidentally left the WiFi on after leaving one office with WiFi and went to another office without WiFi. I did not really notice but suddenly my phone was back to and exceeded my previous battery life. WTF! Further tests with both my iPhones (yes I have two, one for each country) concluded further that this is a real affect and is not proven explainable although I have a theory that I would love checking. Technically turning WiFi should cause a REDUCTION in battery life.
The theory that I have is that Apple have boosted the transmission power on the iPhone 3G radio to allow it to better operate on the US ATT network which is notoriously poor in many US states. This causes the battery to drain further, and also explains why it was not ‘fixed’ in the 3.1.2 release – as it is not something they want to fix as it is solving a US issue that they are getting a lot of flack for. However, the moment you turn the WiFi on I believe that drops the 3G transmission power back to previous levels, which when WiFi is only beacon’ing (trying to find another WiFi network) means a reduced power draw and better battery life. The other evidence is that I note that the iPhones are noticeably warmer when only on 3G.
Not sure if this is really true, but all I know is that my phones now last a lot longer. Try it, it can only improve things.
Whether you use a netbook or an ultramobile notebook (same difference!), the one of the most important requirements in my view, particularly for the very mobile worker, is that it has a significant battery life – whole day preferably.
Down with 3-Cell Batteries: Netbooks Should Have 5+ Hours of Battery Life
The only problem with many 6 cell batteries is the sometimes awkward shape and the additional weight that it generally gives the notebook. In fact when I come to replace my existing machine, I will be looking at those machines that give at least 5 hours of battery life. How about you? Do you believe battery life is so important?
I recently changed my mobile from a GSM only HTC Vox S710 to a HTC Touch Dual 3G mobile phone. The switch is a short term one as the switch was because the S710 was really beat up and scratched, and the Touch Dual was available at a steal of a price. It has given me however a chance to see if 3G on a phone is actually useful.
I hear you say, of course it is.. but right now I am edging towards the view that 3G for a phone is of little or no use except in the most extreme of instances. I am not talking about using the device as a modem for PC browsing, but whether the increased power usage and higher browsing speed are actually ok or not. To be honest for PC access over 3G, the best option is to get a 3G dongle or a laptop with the required radio already inbult – this allows you to use your phone and laptop at the same time, something I am always doing.
What I can say about the on-phone browsing and email download side of things, well I really do not notice the difference. With the email, I am reading small text messages and rarely open any attachments which explains it pretty much. With browsing, the performance is just simply not noticeably different – and I am talking about full screen browsing through the Opera Mini browser. Opera does a great job of compressing/caching the content so that operation over 2G is absolutely fine. The only place I saw a benefit for the speed is when I did have cause to open an attachment, but this is so rare as to not matter and we are talking about at most double the download time. I could see this difference being greater as I receive bigger attachments, but that just does not happen right now nor do I make use of it yet when running around. One special thought though is that I now have Qik video on the phone and that definitely does justify the speed of 3G, but using Qik I run directly into the other big problem of 3G phones – they suck power like it was going out of fashion.
I hear you say this must be the phone – after all it is a sucky Windows Mobile 6.1 device. Nope, I hear the same complaints from persons with other 3G phones such as the iPhone. Making use of the 3G service and the video on the device can really empty the battery purely because 3G phones require more processing power than the bog standard 2G phones.
So like many others who have moved to 3G, I now manage my life differently. I try not to be far away from a power source and recharge whenever I can. I am also eyeing up a spare battery or even the enhanced life version that makes the phone really thick. I am not however going to drop back to the 2G life – the video features are very nice, and that processor speed is also very nice in the OS giving the phone that nippy feature. It has however made me think twice about a non-replaceable battery phone like the iPhone, as charging is needed twice a day in real use because of my addiction to data access and push mail. I will just have to see what is available in August this year, when I feel I will need to upgrade again.
My thoughts however may be swayed if I do suffer too many battery out incidents.
What do you think of 3G phones?