Why Smartphone Battery Life Disappoints and What the Industry is Doing About it

Building off of my previous post, “Why the Smartphone is the New Ball & Chain,” I suppose we’ve all adapted to the current battery life situation, even if we don’t love it. That includes device makers and the broader industry as well as device consumers like myself. Unfortunately, the smartphone trends hide a concerning issue that could make the current situation even worse—unless the industry changes course.

As screen sizes have increased, so have devices. Even as devices have become thinner, the increased device size has enabled batteries to get larger. But batteries can’t get much bigger. For one thing, devices aren’t likely to get much larger on average, and as smartphones shift towards the mass market, costs are a limiting factor.

Aside from some unforeseen battery technology innovation, something has to change. If power consumption continues to skyrocket without increased battery capacity, there’s a potential for battery life to become a huge consumer issue. Fortunately, there are clear signs that the industry is responding by shifting much more of a focus towards improving power efficiency.

One new trend is the implementation of battery life analytics programs by top carriers. At Spirent, we’re at the forefront of this trend, enabling carriers to evaluate the battery life of all new devices before they go to customers. Recently, we announced the launch of Quantum, an automated system for measuring and analyzing battery life and power efficiency of devices. Quantum is the world’s first system that automatically executes realistic use cases on a device, while measuring power consumption at the same time. Quantum enables carriers, device makers and chipset providers to make direct comparisons of power consumption between different devices and chipsets—a key element of battery life analytics programs aimed at improving power efficiency.

Personally, I’m wishing the industry success in all its power efficiency initiatives. I’m still holding on to that glimpse of untethered freedom I had all those years ago. Uh oh, I just noticed my battery is down to 10%. Better power efficiency can’t come fast enough for me. Time to go plug in.

Watch our latest video to see Quantum in action and learn how the world's first automated battery life measurement system tests real world scenarios.

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