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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mobile Batteries and the Cloud: another rant

To follow up on my last rant on the need for next-generation batteries, here was my use case this morning that ended in a huge failure.

As and aside, the Nexus S is winning me over in a big way.  I'm finding about 90% of my dual-wielding phone life is being given to the Nexus S, and about 10% to my iPhone 4.  Two months ago, these percentages were flipped.  But I digress.

Today:

7:06 AM  Unlplug Nexus S from the charger
7:10 AM Check some email
7:16 AM Walk out the door and fire up Rhapsody, listen to a streaming album over T-Mobile
7:18 AM Check some email, see battery meter is at about 90% already.  Holy moley.  Go look at the batter meter, I used Google Maps last night to find a destination, it has been running in the background chewing up battery.  The app says it's been using 16% of the battery life.  Hm.
7:34 AM Get on the train. Continue listening to another streaming album  (Oasis - 'What's the story morning glory?' in case you were curious)
7:35 AM  Turn off display and put Nexus S in my pocket.
8:30 AM Arrive at work, look at Nexus S - see less that 10% battery message, connect to charger.  Look at Battery Meter.  Rhapsody now using 16%, Maps using 10%.

So let me sum up here - doing nothing really but listening to streaming music, my battery lasted one hour and twenty-four minutes.  One hour and twenty-four freaking minutes!    

This is the promise of "The Cloud".  The Holy Cloud.   One hour and twenty-four minutes of Cloud.

So who is to blame here?   Rhapsody?  Google Maps?  Android?  T-Mobile? Samsung?  My Klipsch headphones?  They are unpowered headphones, are they drawing all the power?

Probably a combination of all, but I'm still saying Lithium Ion batteries aren't up to the task of how we want to use our mobile devices in the coming years.

ars technica ran a timely article yesterday called "What's the best way to use a Li-ion battery?" and essentially the advice is "always plug it into a charger whenever you can."   You better just hope you are near one every hour and a half!
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