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'Two-day battery life' tops user wish list

A new study confirms voice, data and video functionalities have converged into a single mobile device, but users lament that battery technology has yet to catch up.

Two in three mobile device users crave battery power that can support their devices for at least two days of active use, according to a new study which polled respondents across 15 countries.

Conducted by market information provider TNS Technology, the survey reaffirms that insufficient battery life is still a real "pain point" for users today and one of the top reasons why consumers do not use games, music and TV applications on their devices more frequently.

Hanis Harun, regional director for Asia Pacific TNS, noted that while new converged mobile devices such as Apple’s new Rokr iTunes-enabled phone, are expected to be launched in time for the Christmas season, consumers might still not necessarily bite.

"The road to convergence is characterised by a rush to embed ever more sophisticated new technologies and functions into the mobile device," said Harun. "But what is often overlooked is that all of these advanced features require more power to operate, and that battery technology has not quite kept up with the rate of advancement in other areas."

Other features that mobile users look for include, high-resolution camera and video camera and 20 gigabytes of storage, according to TNS.

Respondents from China put the need for storage above long-lasting battery life, with one in two rating storage as a highly important feature.

The survey also found that some of the world’s most frequent users of camera-phones reside in the Asia-Pacific region, where 61 percent of respondents in Korea use their handset cameras at least once per week. This figure dips to 42 percent and 39 percent in Hong Kong and Japan, respectively.

In contrast, only 21 per cent of mobile users in the United States use the camera functions in their phones at least once a week.

Just as taking photographs with mobile phones is popular, so too is sending them by MMS (multimedia message service). Although 46 percent of respondents said they send an MMS message less than once a week, Japan and Korea registered the highest MMS penetration at 80 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

The study reveals that opaque pricing plans are a significant barrier to increasing MMS usage. An estimated 23 percent and 22 percent of mobile users in Hong Kong and Korea, respectively, cited a lack of knowledge about costs as a reason not to use MMS. Other key barriers in the region include the time taken to send, perceived complexity, the need to register before use, and lack of awareness of MMS functionality.

The survey was conducted between July and August this year, and included six countries from the Asia-Pacific region including China, Hong Kong, India and Japan.