It is fast becoming the age of the smartphone. Smartphones are selling like hotcakes and taking more bites out of phone sales statistics. Still, one sore issue that is observed is that of battery life.
What do we expect? 4-inch touchscreen displays, always-on data, multi-tasking, +1GHz processors and a host of other features all mean that there is a greater demand on our smartphones’ batteries.
Android OS is one of the greatest culprit in this regard. Apparently, we need to make our robots more energy-efficient. Those droids simply guzzle power like mad.
Another power-inefficient mobile OS at the moment is Windows Phone. I have used two WP7 devices, and they both suck badly with regards to battery consumption.
Another battery sucker is Maemo (evolving into MeeGo). As much as I loved the N900, I had to let it go because of the battery life.
I also owned and used a Palm Pre running WebOS, and it was disastrous, battery-wise. It certainly was the worst case of poor battery life that I had ever encountered. Whether this is a WebOS trait in general or it was an isolated case, I have no idea.
It is no news that Symbian has remained legendary with regards energy efficiency. That old horse just can’t be beat. Devices running Symbian keep going long after the average Android, Windows Phone and Maemo toy has given up.
Sadly, Symbian is on the way out, though not until 2016. I will repeat – Symbian OS is too good to dump. It does so many things well and has improved so fast and markedly that it should be retained. It doesn’t seem to make much sense dumping it now when it’s just getting better and better.
PS: In adopting WP as a primary smartphone platform, do we take it that there should be a secondary? Why not? Retain Symbian as secondary, and problem solved.
Anyway, life goes on. Moving away from Symbian, there is only one other major smartphone OS that delivers exemplary battery life that I am aware of. Yes; iOS.
iOS has come a long way in terms of battery life. The first generations of iPhones had piss-poor battery life, but things have changed dramatically.
With more features now, iOS has been optimised to deliver even better battery life across both iPhones and iPad ranges.
For those that want to stay truly mobile i.e. Not tied to carrying a cable around and looking for something to plug their smartphones to by mid-day, you are better off looking in the direction of Symbian or iOS. That’s just the way it is. For now.
Hopefully, we shall see better power optimisation on other platforms in a little while. In the meantime, if I had no Symbian device that meets my needs, and I had to look elsewhere right now, I am afraid it would have to be in the direction of Steve Job’s reality distortion field. Battery life is at the top of my mobile requirements. It just doesn’t matter what a mobile device can do if it doesn’t let me do it away from a charger.
Your thoughts, guys?
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.