My BlackBerry is an Obese Glutton

My BlackBerry is an Obese Glutton

Summary: There are those that say that pets resemble their owners. In my case, it couldn't be further from the truth -- I'm the proud owner of two miniature poodles.

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There are those that say that pets resemble their owners. In my case, it couldn't be further from the truth -- I'm the proud owner of two miniature poodles. While poodles are intelligent, neurotic, starved for attention, compassionate and kind dogs -- traits which I can easily identify in myself, they don't look anything like me. However, I do physically resemble one of my most loyal electronic pets -- my BlackBerry .

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

For some months now, I've been the proud owner of a BlackBerry Bold 9000, one of the two 3G BlackBerry phones that RIM released in late 2008. While I love the styling and the usability of the device, I absolutely hate its battery life. Like a binge eater well on their way to morbid obesity, or a porn-crazed sex addict requiring constant stimulation, the Bold 9000 has an absolute quenchless thirst for battery charge -- no doubt due to the increased requirements of constant 3G data transmission, my heavy use of email, web browsing and instant messaging on the device, not to mention a healthy amount of voice calls and bluetoothing.

With this kind of appetite, I was lucky to be able to get six to eight hours of charge on the device's 1200mAh battery per day -- not nearly enough to get me through a twelve hour day of business travel away from a desk and a slutty AC adapter with a willing receptacle.

So what did I do? I threw more money at it. I bought a $60.00 SEIDIO 3500mAh battery pack from CrackBerry.com which solved the problem real good. Now I can run my Bold for 2 to 3 days on a single charge. The downside? It now looks like the smartphone equivalent to Refrigerator Perry . The stylish leatherette backing of the Bold has now been replaced with a new black plastic cover, with a huge rectangular distended bulge protruding from it that adds at least 30 percent to the device's bulk.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think SEIDIO's battery and accessory products for the BlackBerry are excellent, and I highly recommend them -- they are filling a seriously required niche. But I have to think there are issues which need to be addressed here by RIM and all 3G smartphone vendors in general who are completely missing the battery consumption cluetrain -- and yes, that includes Apple and their Jesus Phone , whose customers don't have the liberty of replacing their battery when the juice stops flowing.

It would seem to me that smartphone vendors need to look at what is being done in the green datacenter and other power conservation technologies used in larger systems -- such as desktop PCs, laptops and servers in order to provide improved battery endurance with mobile devices. For example, why does the 3G BlackBerry and the iPhone 3G need to default to 3G mode at all times? When the device is holstered, shouldn't it fall back to a less power consumptive data and voice mode, such as EDGE , GPRS or even GSM ? Or when making voice calls, is 3G really the most power efficient mode when GSM will suffice, if GSM coverage is sufficient?

It would seem that the software on the smartphones need to become more adaptive to the work habits of the actual user. For example, maybe it makes sense for the devices to stay in EDGE, GPRS or GSM mode at all times, check for mail periodically, and if it sees that a large quantity of data needs to be downloaded, activate the 3G mode in bursts. But for short transmissions of data, it should default back to the slower and less power consumptive modes. Essentially what is needed some sort of "power hypervisor" that doles out access to the 3G transceiver according to assigned user priorities, which could be fine-tuned on a granular basis depending on the application which need data mode. Maybe it isn't really necessary for your IM client to connect using 3G, or maybe you don't get huge volumes of email during a weekend or after-hours. These types of rules-based configurations on smartphones could save an awful lot of power.

Is your 3G smartphone also a huge power glutton? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

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Topics: Mobility, Hardware, BlackBerry, Smartphones, Wi-Fi

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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33 comments
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  • Jesus Phone?

    I clicked on 'Jesus Phone' coz I wondered why anybody would call it that?
    Perhaps it's a common term out there in phoney land for Apple's iPhone, and I just don't know about it.
    But, the link told me nothing. It just looks like an ordinary Apple site page.
    PreachJohn
    • I prefer the iSmudge

      Less opinionated, but perfectly true.
      Chad Strunk
    • He's Jew

      maybe that's why he likes to mock
      Jesus. Who knows?

      For the record I am on neither side,
      so please don't hate me
      markbn
      • So was Jesus. What's your point? (nt)

        (nt)
        RationalGuy
        • OK

          I guess you are right man, whoops! Let the two
          Jews, Jason and Jesus, screw each other up :D

          Jesus Phone, Jew Phone, Jason Phone

          Now, I must confess there is something here not
          really making sense: sounds like jPhone, not
          iPhone. Whatever.
          markbn
    • Term's Origins

      I first saw the term in the pages of The Register
      (www.register.co.uk), an IT site known for its meticulously
      balanced coverage of IT: they slam everyone.

      Add Bastard Operator from Hell (serialized fictional humor) and
      the occasional (and too rare) contribution from Verity Stob, and
      it's my number one visit in the morning.
      DannyO_0x98
  • RE: My BlackBerry is an Obese Glutton

    "...and yes, that includes Apple and their Jesus Phone, who???s customers don???t have the liberty of replacing their battery when the juice stops flowing."

    Anyone can replace the battery on any iteration of the iPhone by sending it to multiple online shops that will get it back to you within two days for $19.95 or less.

    My God, I hate all the useless tripe that Internet blossing has spawned among the ignorant and unwashed masses.
    SkateNY
    • Wow - talk about mis- understanding the article

      With your iPhone you have to carry a charger around with you because you cannot insert a bigger battery.
      With a Blackberry (and others) you can buy a bigger battery that lasts a lot longer between charges so you don't have to carry a charger with you.
      If you use your 3G/WiFi phone as much as Jason does then you will have to charge it after 8 hours (approx) usage.
      And being without your phone for 2 days while they replace a battery, that is going back to the dark ages. And that is why an iPhone is completely cr*p for enterprise.
      deaf_e_kate
      • Don't worry...

        SkateNY is the local comedy turn here.

        Anyway...

        Jason, without being too snotty, I think it's reasonable to assume that if you're within 3G and WiFi range you're probably within range of a power socket too.
        Sleeper Service
        • he certainly engaged fanboy head instead of brain

          "if you're within 3G and WiFi range you're probably within range of a power socket too"
          i think he doesn't want to be carrying a charger with him everywhere he goes and don't you just mean "wifi" and not "3G and wifi"
          deaf_e_kate
      • Well no one said the iPhone as for everyone...:P

        As for being blank for enterprise. I think that depends
        again its a gross exaggeration to assume that every
        enterprise user finds him/herself needing what Jason
        needs. I think I've read several articles that show the
        iPhone has made gains in the enterprise and I got a memo
        after the latest iPhone was released from my companies IT
        department that said our company now supports the
        iPhone as well as the BB. So obviously your statement was
        not quite correct.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • Well no one said the iPhone as for everyone...:P

          I am speaking from my experience o spending 3 years supporting blackberry in one of the largest global banks. All the high usage users required more than one battery to get through a trip away as they didn't want to take a battery charger if they could help it. They didn't want to take a laptop either or the spare USB cable to charge it via a laptop. A spare charged battery in the pocket was a boon to them. "Cut and Paste" was a must feature as well.
          deaf_e_kate
    • Replacing battery...

      Yep-so, you're at a business event, or you are a road warrior who needs to stay in touch with the office. "Oh oh; my battery is going dead. Rather than pop in a backup, I'm going to send it in to XXX, and I will have it back in no more than 3 business days. Call me back then".
      justanitguy
      • Depends....

        If the battery is actually dead then it is likely 4 to 5 years
        old. How long do you keep your mobile phone for
        anyway? Now if the battery just needs a re-charge well
        carrying around an extra battery or a charger is well not all
        that much different. Still I would have assumed that before
        the meeting got underway you had ample time to check
        your power level and do a quick recharge if needed. Still
        in the end no one said the iPhone is for everyone under
        every situation. The one thing Apple has never tried to be
        is the company that tries to be all things for all people.
        Jack of all trades master of none.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • More nonsense from our friend Worshiper Jim

          =====
          Now if the battery just needs a re-charge well
          carrying around an extra battery or a charger is
          well not all that much different.
          =====

          Yes, it's very different. With the charger you MUST
          plug it in somewhere. It's not always the case you
          have an outlet available. The other time I attended
          a conference where everybody had laptops and other
          devices and when I arrived there were no more
          outlets available. What do you do in that case? On
          the contrary, having an extra capacity battery, or
          another user replaceable battery would save you in
          that case.

          =====
          Still I would have assumed that before
          the meeting got underway you had ample time to
          check your power level and do a quick recharge if
          needed.
          =====

          Yeah, live is perfect in Fantasyland, One Infinite
          Loop. Mere humans who make mistakes or who have to
          attend prolonged events in which it's difficult to
          find a charger do not count.

          =====
          Still in the end no one said the iPhone is for
          everyone under every situation.
          =====

          Great, but it must be admitted then that the
          Blackberry (or other phone that does not restrict
          you like the iPhone) is *better* than the iPhone in
          that respect. Typical Apple fanboys answers are
          usually like: No, it's better to have a non-user
          replaceable battery like the iPhone does. Any
          indication of the contrary must be dismissed to accommodate Apple's mandates.

          =====
          The one thing Apple has never tried to be
          is the company that tries to be all things for all
          people. Jack of all trades master of none.
          =====

          There are phones that are also the same but better
          than the iPhone for circumstances like the one
          described above.


          One more time Worshiper Jim patrolling any forums
          to protect the Emperor and his clothes by arguing
          with whoever has even the slightest doubt that
          disagrees with any Apple approach.
          markbn
          • At that conference you attended..

            anyone with an iPhone could have charged it from
            their laptop - no need to plug it into the wall.
            Surely your Blackberry can be charged from your
            computer, can't it?

            Of course, there are also external batteries sold for
            the iPhone which will recharge the internal battery,
            several times over.
            msalzberg
          • Wait a second

            1) "external batteries sold for the iPhone"
            presumably add even more burden to carry
            them around that either another iPhone
            battery, or the battery pack sold for the
            Blackberry, other phones and even PDAs.
            Not cool. That's more a work around a
            deficiency in the iPhone.

            However more important is that, if you need
            to carry those external chargers it indicates
            people DO need that kind of things to get
            around the non user-replaceable battery
            in the iPhone. So basically, you recognized
            the iPhone approach is deficient!!! That's the
            point! Had Apple used a user replaceable
            battery, iPhone users could have been able to
            carry another batter which would be, of
            course more portable than your external
            charger! In any case you contradict the
            nonsense answer from Jim. Thanks!

            2) I did not mention I brought a laptop
            Had I had just an iPhone I would not
            have been able to recharge my iPhone
            (for the record, I brought a different
            Smartphone, but I'm not a fanatic of
            the smartphone I use)

            3) What happens with the other people who
            brought a laptop, an iPhone, but when
            arrived found no power outlet available
            either?
            Recharge the iPhone from the laptop? Sure
            but that would have taken energy from their
            laptop battery too.

            Sorry, but your arguments are very circular and
            arrive again to the original problem which is
            lack of user replaceable battery in the iPhone
            markbn
          • The external batteries...

            aren't really that much more of a hassle to carry than any
            other spare battery, or battery pack. Easier to carry, in
            fact, than a charger with it's attendant cable.

            Oh, and I don't carry one. I haven't found the need.

            Look, you can go on and on with your doomsday
            scenarios, but the fact of the matter is most people will do
            just fine without a spare battery, or the need to be near an
            outlet all day. Some people will. If that's the case, they
            can deal with it pretty easily, no matter what phone they
            use.
            msalzberg
          • Not my fault you doo not understand or are delusional

            [i]
            Look, you can go on and on with your doomsday
            scenarios,[/i]

            No doomsday scenarios. The fact is because you do
            not face that kind of situations, it does not mean
            that nobody does. I am not talking hypothetical
            scenarios. They come from my own experience.

            Many other people also face similar situations:

            http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-17924-0.html?
            forumID=1&threadID=56821&messageID=1076157

            Your reasoning is something like this: "I have never
            ran into one of those cases, therefore, those are
            doomsday scenarios that never occur to 'most
            people'". Sheesh.

            [i]but the fact of the matter is most people will do
            just fine without a spare battery, or the need to be
            near an outlet all day.[/i]

            First, I already said a good solution was to keep a
            spare battery. The iPhone does not allow you
            keep a spare battery

            Second, please stop talking garbage. "The fact of
            the matter"??? It's just your opinion. You do not
            back that claim with anything. Who named you
            representative of "most users"? Steve Jobs?

            It's like someone saying "the fact of the matter is
            that all iPhone users must be like msalzberg who
            are delusional" How could someone say that without
            any proof?

            [i]
            The external batteries...
            aren't really that much more of a hassle to carry
            than any other spare battery, or battery pack.
            [/i]

            For example which one?


            [i]
            Easier to carry, in fact, than a charger with it's
            attendant cable.
            [/i]

            You are the one who suggested recharging the iPhone
            with an external cable, aren't you? Now you
            debunk yourself by suggesting another alternative?
            markbn
          • Actually, markbn, I 'doo' understand..

            you are the one who is claiming that your experience is the
            typical one.

            There are several companies that sell external battery
            packs for the iPhone. How is carrying a spare internal
            battery for a Blackberry any different that carrying a spare
            external battery?

            The only thing you seem interested in saying is "iPhone
            bad." Too bad you have to keep playing with hypotheticals
            to prove it. I'll tell you what: Don't buy one. Oh, and
            since you have no idea about what it's like to actually own
            and use one, why do you feel qualified to even comment?
            msalzberg