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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Battery life...why is it never long enough?

Being in an industry like the one we at Jacky's, are in, we're always playing with new toys and gadgets.  These days, it seems we get a lot more to play with than we've done in the past and there's been one gripe we're constantly faced with and that's battery life.

As products have gotten quicker, sleeker and more functional, we've constantly seen battery life become an issue to the point that we know we can probably get more powerful products today if only battery life wasn't an issue, so much so that when a new product is launched, battery life is still a question that gets asked instead of being taken for granted as a non-issue.
When Apple launched the iPhone 4, they made it a point to emphasize they had improved the battery life and this was done by making the rest of electronics in the phone smaller and putting in a bigger battery instead of improving battery technology.
Sure, things have come a long way from the days when we used to sell batteries as an add-on with every mobile phone or when you would need to carry two or three batteries for your video camera during your vacation at Disney World.  However, the rate at which battery technology has evolved hasn't kept pace with the way everything else around has.

Today if we look at it, there are various places where we use batteries with the most obvious being of course our mobile / smartphones, digital cameras, laptops, tablets and MP3 players.  When using many of these products, we find ourselves having to play with the settings of our products just to extend battery life.  For example, while most people have a smartphone that can run on a 3G network, many people still run on a 2G / EDGE / GPRS network setting instead as it can mean all of a sudden that your battery lasts for two days instead of one day.  The same thing happens on our laptops where we change brightness, screen saver or power saving settings in the control panel just to get more juice out of our laptop.

There are many manufacturers who'd I'm sure want to give us all bigger and brighter screens, faster speed processors or even multiple processors who hold back today because of battery life.  There is no point in them releasing a new smartphone with a fantastic 4.3" display and dual processor if the battery life is only good enough to last you till lunch time.

While battery manufacturers catch up, some companies like Intel have been working to do their best.  When the Centrino processors first came out, they ensured we got more speed, better wireless connectivity and longer battery life by re-doing the way they designed their processors.  This meant that the battery in the laptop was better utilized and power required was reduced.  The same has been the case with many other manufacturers in the smartphone, tablet and MP3 business as well but we're still left with situations where we're not using all our products to their fullest potential for fear of the product going kaput before the day's out.

While we do hope to see many innovations in 2011, one thing we should all hope for is for battery technology to improve as we're pretty sure that's only going to lead much more innovation and more toys for us all to play with in the long term!

Posted By: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics