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My very first smartphone was the Motorola Q, if you still want to consider that a smartphone. I used it for a few days and took it back to the local Alltel store. I had been used to the rather exceptional battery life of my feature phone and the Q's battery couldn't last me through a day, so I swapped it out for anything that could. I switched to the BlackBerry Pearl. The battery on it was decent, lasting me a day and a half of moderate to heavy use. After that, I just got greedy. I later traded for a Curve that could last me anywhere from 2-3 days with light to heavy use.

Can you imagine getting 2-3 days on an Android device, an iPhone, or any other modern smartphone? No. You can hack all day and buy an inch-thick extended battery (no thank you), but 3 days is just out of the boundaries of what I'm willing to do. BlackBerry spoiled me. Back when I bought the Sprint HTC Hero, I resorted to cutting off all connections unless I absolutely needed them. The battery was draining at an average rate of 15-20 percent per hour while sitting in my pocket. Having to turn on 3G connections just to check for email just became ridiculous.

This struggle has been a burden for me and a lot of smartphone users since the introduction of webOS and Android. Apple has done a decent job with their latter iterations of the iPhone, and Android is slowly working on better battery life – as you can see in Gingerbread. But Android developers are not solely responsible for battery life. Manufacturers have to do something about it, too.
I would like to comfortably make it through one day with heavy use, but it just isn't possible yet.

I have a myTouch 4G and its battery life is sporadic at best. One day I can make it about 10 hours of heavy use and be fine. The next day the battery might drain halfway in just a few hours, before I ever touch it. I've noticed that this is common in most of the Android devices I've owned: the Droid X, Hero, Eris, OG Droid, Incredible, Nexus One, etc. I've heard of people consistently getting great battery life out of all sorts of smartphones, but I've tried all of the tricks and get no noticeable results.

I'm happy that manufacturers are relentlessly pushing the technology and giving us 1+ GHz devices, dual-core processors, and absolutely amazing displays. But composing a device with technologies that “help battery life,” isn't getting us anywhere. All of the “help” adds maybe a few more minutes, an hour at best. That's good and all, but without direct focus on the battery, not the components around it, we will never be able to comfortably make it through one day. For three years now, manufacturers have focused primarily on everything in the phone but the battery. Everything around it is growing (display, processor, camera, etc.) while the battery is getting smaller. My jaw dropped when I looked at the HD7 battery which was one 1230 mAh. The last time I saw a battery rated that low was in a feature phone.

Yes, I'm ranting, I know. But it's an ongoing issue that gets very little attention. I know quite a few people that have switched from Android to the iPhone 4 just for the battery life, and a BlackBerry accompanies my other device every day because I know it will last all day, no matter what. Everyone should feel that their device will last a full day, regardless of operating system or manufacturer. It should be the assumed standard. I have no problem with charging my device every night. I always have anyway, but having to charge any phone more than once in a day is just ridiculous.

Which manufacturer is going to be the first to step up to the challenge? What kind of device do you have, and what kind of battery life do you get on average? What tricks do you use?

Image via DigitalTrends


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