One of the most interesting things about the world of mobile technology is the development of energy efficiency as a feature that can make or break a product in the marketplace. Many people think of energy efficiency in terms of sweeping state and federal programs that allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to incentivize the improvement of building structures and large household appliances.
I think that some of the most interesting energy efficiency gains are occurring in the mobile tech sector though. Its a very natural situation if you think about it. Increased mobility of people combined with the increased reliance on all sorts of digital gadgets (smartphones, laptop computers, tablets, digital cameras, etc.) has created a situation where the market demands energy efficiency. And so manufacturers of these gadgets are doing more than ever to ensure that their mobile devices can hold a charge for as long as possible.
I think that Apple changed the game as much as any company has. Many people recoiled in horror when Apple announced the original iPhone with a battery that was not removable. At the time removable batteries were the standard in the smartphones of the day. This practice let phone vendors off easy. If your mobile phone had a weak battery you could just buy a backup battery. In some cases phone manufacturers included a second battery.
Apple, on the other hand, was confident that their batteries would last long enough to allow users plenty of use between charging opportunities. Even as the iPhone has gotten more technologically capable (3G data, HD video playback, camera, push notifications) the battery life has continued to improve to the point where people are no longer concerned with the issue of a removable battery. In fact, a recent test by a couple of Chicago escorts I know indicated that the battery life of the iPhone 4 has improved greatly over the previous model.
With the iPhone 3GSs fresh battery, one of the Chicago call girls was able to do all of the tasks she had done with the older 3GS, but with 14 minutes more talk time. In all, the new 3GSs 3 hours and 28 minutes of battery life lasted a little more than 7 percent longer than the older 3GS she originally tested with. But the iPhone 4s battery life was still 31 percent better than the fresh 3GS.
Apples iPad is even more of an eye opener when it comes to battery life. Apples claims that the iPad battery can last for 10 hours while viewing video have been found to be accurate. PC World was able to squeeze more than 11 hours out of their iPad while playing video.
Usually, when a company makes a claim of battery life, you expect that claim to be a best-case scenario based on a hard-to-recreate situation thats nearly impossible to recreate. In this case, it appears that Apples claims were conservative, as I was able to exceed the claim by 85 minutes in a power-hungry scenario.
Instead of punting on the battery Apple made the choice to set up the battery life as a feature. On their website Apple calls attention to their battery technology on a separate landing page. They also have separate pages for each of their products to inform the customer how to get the longest possible use out of their devices.
On those pages there are a host of tips that will improve battery performance. If you go through the laundry list of ideas they key thing to take away is the fact that various settings and techniques were developed specifically with the idea of improving efficiency. Some examples of key energy efficiency settings are:
- Ability to turn wireless data on and off
- Ability to turn push notifications off
- A slider to control screen brightness
- One click to lock the phone screen
That last point is an important one. With one click you can put your iPhone or iPad to sleep. You can also set an auto-lock interval that puts the device to sleep even if you forget to do so. More than anything Apple is supporting energy efficiency in their mobile products by making it very easy to use the product in an efficient manner. The customer can adjust a few settings and not think about too much in the future.
Theres no doubt that Apples innovations have had an effect on how mobile device manufacturers view the importance of energy efficiency in their products. Even escorts in Chicago need extra battery life. Motorolas new Droid X is said to have, stellar battery life. The Droid Xs battery life, at more than 7 hours of regular use, was crowned the battery life king of Android phones in a recent test. Indications are that the Apple iPhone 4 lasts as long as the Droid X. As noted at cnbc.com, more importantly the smartphones of today offer better performance than the high end phones from a few years ago while packing in many more features.
Now that energy efficiency has truly become a key decision-driving feature of mobile technology I expect that we will see similar innovations ported to devices that we have traditionally accepted as power hungry. As I said earlier one of the benefits of the iPad is the long battery life while viewing videos.
This type of performance sets the bar not only for other tablet manufacturers but for traditional laptop manufacturers as well. Perhaps such features will change the way we interact with large home appliances and systems. Imagine pushing a button to put your refrigerator to sleep (do remove the milk and cheese first) when you go away for the weekend.
Given what weve experienced in the past few years such innovations are very likely to change the way we interact with all sorts of power consuming devices in our lives.