It’s a recurring theme familiar to many of us in modern life. We buy a brand new shiny smartphone with the power-to-weight ratio of a Saturn 5 Rocket. It has the fine lines and the sleek looks that would make a Porsche car designer dribble into his sauerkraut. It has intelligence and foresight.
Our new phone can do everything.
It’ll even help us with our productivity at work and at home, provide us with breaking news and keep us up to date with friends and family on social media – it will even tell you when to set off to the dentist. Until about lunch time.
By the time you’ve taken the first bite out of your sandwich it starts wheezing, spluttering and gets all shouty. It shuts down everything that makes it smart, the reason you bought it in the first place, clinging to every last sinew of power as it tries to keep itself alive.
It becomes dumb, fast.
About now your smartphone is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle, that email you wanted to send would get there quicker by carrier pigeon. The battery’s dead.
It’s a recurring theme familiar many of us in this modern life.
Why should we put up with it? How come we can produce these technical marvels but still have to be no further away than 5 feet to the nearest convenient plug socket in order to use them?
Remember the Nokia 3310? That beast had a battery life of around 11 days!
So, why do modern phones struggle to get through half a day? The answer sits somewhere between the powerful internals of today’s modern phones and the blazing speed in which this technology advances and the slow pace of battery research and development.
As devices become less obese, thinner, lighter and more powerful – batteries have to conform to the design limitations set out by their maker meaning thinner and lighter batteries, equaling less capacity and less power.
When you look at the above statement objectively, it doesn’t make sense. We’re packing in so much power hungry technology into today’s smartphone. It’s like placing a ford fiesta engine into 60 tonne battle tank. The screens are getting bigger and sharper, the CPU’s are getting gruntier and the way we consume content on our devices is getting ever more frequent, they are on more often than not. And, even when the phone’s screen is off, its working, learning, listening and transmitting.
Well, you could make the smart choice and buy a dumb phone. If all you want is the ability to text and make the odd call then there are still plenty of phones shaped like London stock bricks on the market that’ll do just that and crucially they’ll last for days.
Or, you could make the dumb choice, like me, and surrender to the beauty and intelligence of today’s power hungry smartphone that’ll enthrall you for a few hours and die on you by lunch time.
There are no quick fixes with this problem. Today’s modern smartphone provides a window to so many opportunities to both brands and consumers that the design paradigm is going nowhere, it’ll only get bigger and more powerful and batteries will only get smaller and less potent.