Google Says Your Phone Should Last a Day, Blame Apps for Poor Battery


Battery life is such a heated concern that many mobile users face. Beyond Android, I’ve seen complaints of battery life on all sorts of platforms: Symbian, iPhone OS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile. Simply put, smartphones just can’t seem to catch a break with providing decent battery life without the need to go out and buy an extended unit.

The common factor between all smartphones? Apps, of course. Larry Page – Google’s co-founder – says that Android is no different: poorly programmed apps are to blame for increased battery usage, and if you can’t get through the day without a charge, then there’s “something wrong”.


Eric Schimdt was on hand at Google Zeitgeist to offer his two cents, as well, with a slightly more technical outlook:

The primary consumer of the battery life on these phones is the transmit/receive circuit. So tuning that and obviously figuring out a way to not use too much of that extends your battery life

After which, Larry Page offered a solution that we’ve all come to know and live: a bigger battery. It’s no secret that many users suffer from battery life, but that isn’t necessarily the fault of the operating system on which the phone resides; when you’re using apps that have been poorly programmed, they more than likely aren’t efficient in using a lot of the phone’s capabilities (and that includes using services that require a good amount of juice).

On a related note, this story came in with great timing as James Jackson just introduced another episode of “The Secret Life of Phandroids” last night. The comic pokes fun at this very issue, and it should give you a good chuckle when you think about how most of the Android community thinks about battery life.

[via TechRadar]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Damn right.

  2. not having trouble with my desire

    i get like 3 days easily with 3g when i need it, wifi at home and checkin mails, weather, news, …. every hour/ few hours.

  3. funny but my Nexus One says the Display is responsible for 75% of my battery drain.

  4. The Pre’s battery is terrible. The iPhone’s is ok. My Droid’s is a little better than when I had a 3GS.

    I don’t think this was smart of Google. They don’t review or approve apps, they’re very hands off. If they were more hands on, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

  5. @Miguel why is your Nexus One’s screen on 75% of the time to begin with?

  6. Oh, yeah?! And how about removing the ability to switch to 2G-only mode, Google? You removed it from Android starting at 1.6. That was a HUGE battery saver.

  7. I noticed this same exact thing happening on my Nexus One as soon as I installed and begin using the AndroidandMe widget. It was sucking down my battery faster than Homer downs a Duff. I switched the refresh rate and it helped a bit but I can still tell that its using a good amount of my battery.

  8. At vlad, I haven’t used a non-rooted phone for ages but I’m fairly certain this works on all android phones. Open up your dialer and type *#*#4636#*#* this should automatically bring you to a menu with a few choices select the top choice “Phone Information” near the bottom of the page that comes up you’ll be able to choose 2g. hope that helps some, I tried it on a friends non-rooted droid incredible and it worked fine.

  9. it depends on the user. I use my phone a lot because I have a boring office job and need to stay entertained :p

    if i didn’t use my phone so often I could get through the day easily on one charge.

    I wish it had a bigger battery though, but I hate the extended ones that make the phone look ugly. Plus it wouldnt fit in my windshield mount.

  10. Here is a solution for device manufacturers, Add solar cells on the periphery Of the screen and let them supply supplemental power to the battery, thus extending it’s life while in use.

  11. Then how about letting us control the ‘bad’ apps on our phones. let us block apps from starting up on boot, and give us a true task manager. and yes, i know we’re not supposed to have one b/c it ‘takes care of it’ on its own…

  12. A day!?!? My non-smart phone lasted at least a week on a single charge. I’d have to research the specs on an ENV3 vs. a Droid Eris, but seriously a day is ridiculous.

  13. When I first got my G1 with the excitement of the being able to download whatever I wanted my battery suffered serious power drains that eventually caused it to overheat and expand making battery life last a solid hour. I replaced the battery and by process of elimination starting removing apps that were drawing a lot of power and under moderate conditions I’m sure I could push my phone two full days without charging. I have a task manager and set cpu as my means of trying to extend battery life and I would have to say I’m extremely pleased with the results.

  14. @Vlad
    You still can switch from 3G to 2G…

  15. @Drakcol, thanks a lot, pal – worked wonders on SE X10!

  16. @Raon, in the regular settings menu you can’t go 2g only. You have to do *#*# magic to do that.

  17. Has someone put together a list of specific apps that can be battery devourers, and maybe classes of apps that can be problems?

  18. There needs to be an override on how often a widget can update. Thank god for one RSS feed that isn’t full of apple bullshit.

  19. Charging dock at work, and home, and a card dock – who cares about the battery?
    on my Nexus 1….

  20. Try an app called JuiceDefender for better battery life

  21. Then Google needs to update Android because when I go to “About Phone” and then “Battery Use” it mentions nothing about Apps. Tells me its the display and cell standby and the Android OS. Either its not the apps or it is but they need to fix this. If it is a particular app I would either uninstall or disable the app.

  22. I don’t know if any of you had a G1 that run 1.0 and 1.1 but back then battery life even if you knew what you were doing was bad and it wasn’t until 1.5 that Google some how managed to double the battery life. I think that 2.2 will also give everyone a longer battery now that it will include JIT.

  23. @Quentyn He was referring to the display using 75% of the battery. He never said he had the display on 75% of the time. I’ve gotten used to having the display use about 25-30% of the battery per hour. That seems terrible.

  24. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/10/zinc-air-battery-revolt-3-times-more-energy-lithium-ion-battery-electric-cars.php

    zinc air batteries last 3x longer..i think the current problem they have to overcome is how many times such a battery can be recharged until it starts degrading.

  25. My Milestone battery was only lasting about 9 hours on minimal use and had steadily gotten worse. I used Astro to back up my apps and then done a factory reset then loaded back on the EXACT same apps. This has gotten rid of the low memory warning and expanded battery life to approx 2 days on light use. I think all the playing about, installing / deleting apps when it was new (and my first android) leaves too much behind that sucks battery…..

  26. I’ve been able get 36 – 48 hours with light to moderate usage with my samsung moment…
    But at times i’ve loaded an app that would drain the battery in no time.
    I use “spare parts” app to troubleshoot battery issues.
    Then uninstall … except for “Good” (enterprise email app)… it’s my only option for getting corporate email.. and it has issues using “partial wake lock” grrrr…

  27. I hear from a lot of people complain that their battery does not last very long, but they do not like the looks of an extended battery. Let me ask you all this. Is it better to have a cool looking phone and have it not work or have a thicker phone and know it will last and make an important call or use the phone whenb you need it. Phone makers need to put a bigger battery. My G1 OE battery is so small length wise why couldn’t they make a longer that fits most of the back of the phone!!!!.

  28. You can also save some battery by turning off the GPS when at home and turning off the WiFi when not at home. (For that matter, the OS ought to switch automatically between those two depending on whether or not your at or near home, at least by default)

  29. I bought the home dock when I bought my Moto Droid. So I have one permanently set up at home, a car charger (Nav sucks battery life), and the charger that came with the phone is carried around for emergencies.

    Maybe it is me but I thought that was normal for smart phones. Heck I get 24-28 hours out of my Moto Droid and was barely getting 24 hours out of my old Moto Razar!

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