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4G Phones Are Really Fast — At Draining Batteries

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the buzzwords-take-a-lot-of-juice dept.

Cellphones 281

Hugh Pickens writes "With Verizon's 4G network covering a good chunk of the country and AT&T gaining ground, more smartphone users have access to the fastest wireless service available. But because 4G coverage isn't truly continuous in many locations, users' batteries are taking a big hit with 4G, as phones spend an lot of battery power trying to hunt down a signal. 'You've got a situation where the phones are sending out their signals searching and searching for a 4G tower, and that eats up your battery,' says Carl Howe, a vice president for research firm Yankee Group. The spottiness of 4G stems at least in part from the measured approach carriers have taken to it, rolling out the service city by city. There are a few tricks 4G users can try to extend battery life such as turning off your 4G connection when you don't need the fastest speeds — when using email, for instance — or using a program such as JuiceDefender to search for apps you may have downloaded that you don't need to run all the time, and erase them."

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truly breaking reporting (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962855)

Newest Generation of Consumer Electronics Item Uses More Energy Than Previous Generation Did

Re:truly breaking reporting (-1, Flamebait)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963017)

It doesn't have to be that way. Battery life has all but dissapeared in discussions/debates/religious wars about cell phones. The hard core android fan brags about having four cores in their phone, even if everything they're doing could easily be handled by a single core, gets its battery drained four times faster, and doesn't have a noticable performance improvement over the competition.

We're missing a battery life per functionality unit in the tech wars debate.

Re:truly breaking reporting (5, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963033)

The hard core android fan brags about having four cores in their phone, even if everything they're doing could easily be handled by a single core, gets its battery drained four times faster, and doesn't have a noticable performance improvement over the competition.

You mean, "even though their phone just turns off the three other cores 95% of the time anyways". And in fact, some even turn off all four cores, and switch over to a super power-saving core that has especially low performance, but is well enough to play music and HW-decoded video.

Re:truly breaking reporting (5, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963199)

Consider the marketing angle... that's where the money is.

The people who are opening their wallet to buy are after the snazziest technology they can get. Bragging rights. By golly, they want to have something that everybody else doesn't have.

Lamborghini did not make their profits from their mileage numbers. Anyone who can afford their cars would probably reconsider their purchase if the car failed to pass everything they meet on the freeway.

So the phone won't run an hour between charges... who cares? The guy has already bought spare battery packs and charging apparatus. The phone has already served its purpose if it impressed the hell out of his co-workers during the call in the conference room.

These phones are not designed for the same market that goes to Wal-Mart for jeans.

Re:truly breaking reporting (5, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963303)

Oh definitely, but for example the Tegra3 despite having four cores shuts them all down most of the time, and runs a 5th power-saving core. All of this is done silently behind the scenes, and so they never know that they're usually only running on a low-power efficiency core, rather than the roaring engine in the back.

It's like having a two-cylinder engine that is used during stop-and-go traffic (you know, the majority of what you do during your commute) that allows you to drive your Ferrari down to the store without having to fill up on gas on the way back home. But any time you have to impress someone, and pull out the e-peen, then you can just "drop the hammer" and the engine switches over to the high-performance v12, and you go "ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!"

It's definitely all about marketing. This is the best way that they could come up with to let you have your cake and eat it, too... "it has 4 cores, _AND_ it has excellent battery life! *mumbling under breath* because it is almost always running on an economy core unless you're showing off..."

Re:truly breaking reporting (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963437)

Sounds like a brilliant design.

Re:truly breaking reporting (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963561)

Sounds like a brilliant design.

In many ways, it's simply a logical next step - see Nvidia's white paper for architectural details. http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_90715.html [nvidia.com]

Thing is, we're so used to minimal innovation in the stagnant Wintel-controlled X86 world, the rapid pace of change in ARM systems is exciting. Imagine a beowulf cluster of them, for example...
http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2011/11/the-opposite-of-virtualization-calexdas-new-quad-core-arm-part-for-cloud-servers.ars [arstechnica.com]

Re:truly breaking reporting (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963713)

The Tegra does sound very good. Also, with the auto metaphor, several modern engine families do shut down cylinders when the brute power isn't needed, to increase efficiency while still allowing seamless access to full power. And it works pretty well, unlike GM's old, maligned 8-6-4 system, which I understand was a system rushed to market maybe a year before it was ready, and then abandoned before it was refined any further.

Re:truly breaking reporting (3, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963073)

Umm, the standard fapple rebuttal to "my android phone has 4G!" is that 4G is a battery hog and Apple is more concerned with battery life.

Re:truly breaking reporting (3, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963085)

The iPhone - and it really was the first in this category - got people to charge their phone every single night. Since then people have understood that part of the price you pay for having a smartphone instead of a RAZR (or one of the beasts that had a really long battery life - I had a dumpy looking Moto phone that could easily get ten days of standby if I didn't use it much) is that you have to charge it every night. As long as it gives a full 9-10 hours, most people don't care. If I can get 16 hours without a charge under heavy call/text use, I'm fine.

Not true (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963465)

The iPhone - and it really was the first in this category - got people to charge their phone every single night.

That's not the case.

I've had and iPhone since the first one, and I've usually only gone to charge it every three days or so. That's with moderate email/web/app use.

It's less time than other dumb phones but much more time than smart phones of the time (like Treo or Windows Mobile) offered. The realistic multi-day battery life was a huge draw early on, exactly because finally there was a smart phone you DIDN'T have to charge every day.

Re:Not true (1, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963751)

The iPhone - and it really was the first in this category - got people to charge their phone every single night.

That's not the case.

I've had and iPhone since the first one, and I've usually only gone to charge it every three days or so. That's with moderate email/web/app use.

Clearly you never use it.

I have to carry an Iphone 3GS for work, I have to charge it every day and all it does is receive SMS's. I make a call on it about once a month yet requires charging once a day. My Android phone (HTC Desire Z running Cyanogen 7) lasts two days on one charge as well as having a replaceable battery and I use that for voice calls, SMS and web use.

Iphone 4's I've seen require more charging then the 3GS did. There's a reason every Iphone owner has a charge cable at their desk.

Re:Not true (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963873)

As I said I use my phone daily. I currently have an iPhone 4 (not 4s) and I only plug it in to charge about every three days. Again, this is moderate web/email/app use (I don't make many calls either).

I think the 4 is somewhat better charge-wise than the 3Gs (which I also had).

At this point the 3Gs battery may simply be getting weaker, you could have it replaced fairly cheaply.

Re:truly breaking reporting (2)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963467)

I'm still running my five-year-old Treo 650. For most of that time I've had to charge it almost every night. But last summer the vendor (Nokia) that supplied email support to Verizon turned it off, so I couldn't receive email any more. Now I can go three or four days between charges! :)

Re:truly breaking reporting (3, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963765)

My parents had to charge their Nextel phones every day or risk a dead phone on the second day.

I do charge my iPhone every day out of habit because I tend to forget once in a while, and if I forget two days in a row, I might be in trouble.

You might think iPhone started it, but people got in the habit of charging smart phones, regardless of brand, and this was before iPhone was available.

Re:truly breaking reporting (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963789)

Now correct me if I'm wrong but I was under the impression that having multiple cores on a phones CPU actually *increased* battery life somewhat.

Not so fast (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963047)

I'm typing this on a MacBook Air, which gets about 3x the battery life of my previous laptop. And the room I'm in has CFL bulbs which are about 1/4 as power hungry as the old fashioned bulbs.

So no, newer electronics don't *always* use more power.

Re:Not so fast (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963083)

Yea no kidding. I think this 'worse than previous generation' concept must be something smartphone (Android?) apologists seem to hand waive over.

Re:Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963699)

This blatant troll got modded insightful? Apple must have an army of Reputation Managers on standby.

Re:Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963727)

So have you actually checked how much more powerful battery that Macbook Air has, than you previous laptop :)

Re:Not so fast (1, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963777)

I'm typing this on a MacBook Air, which gets about 3x the battery life of my previous laptop. And the room I'm in has CFL bulbs which are about 1/4 as power hungry as the old fashioned bulbs.

So no, newer electronics don't *always* use more power.

Your macbook cant do what an old P4 Laptop couldn't.

Your macbook gets a higher score on the battery because it gets a lower score on everything else.

I had an Asus U30SD. The U30SD has the Optimus graphics chipset, this is a GF520M and an Intel 3000, if I want to play games, I have to use the GeForce chip which gives it a battery life of 6 hours, if I use the Intel IGM, I get a battery life of 10 hours. I now have a U46SV with a GeForce 540M and the discrepancy is worse. Do you see the inverse relationship between processing power and battery consumption?

Now the reason LTE phones use more power then HSPA phones is that the LTE transmitter is not integral to the SoC, it is it's own chip. Once the new ARM line is released (mid this year IIRC) we'll see battery life improve significantly as LTE chips will be integrated into the SoC like HSPA chips currently are.

To elaborate, the Intel graphics chip in your laptop is integrated into the CPU die, so it's powered from the same source as the CPU rather then being a seperate chip with a seperate power supply, do you honestly think you'll be getting the same battery life if you had a discrete graphics card?

Apple again (2, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963195)

Wow this same story keeps happening. Apple elects to go with 2G edge instead of 3G. Gets ridiculed. The all the 3G phones have connection problems and drain their batteries. Apple delays 4G. Gets pilloried. Oops the 4G phones are suck and regret. It's not that apple is always later to the party. Indeed they are a realtively early adopter (dynamic memory, graphic printers, .... ) and an early dropper of obsolete tech (floppies, zip drives, ports...).

Like Paul Mason, they only serve their wine when it is time.

Re:Apple again (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963267)

The battery life problem, if you bothered to read even the summary instead of jumping to the comments to defend Apple, is because there isn't regular 4G coverage everywhere yet. In order for there to be an incentive to develop such widespread coverage, there must also be people willing to use that network (no massive network can be established entirely without users.) This means the only way good 4G coverage can ever happen is if there are issues with it in the early life cycle, and without those early adopters widespread 4G will never happen.

So, without Android adopting 4G, Apple would never be able to follow suit, unless they want to receive the same complaints. Not that that would stop them, necessarily. Did you like all those dropped calls with the early iPhone because you were stuck on AT&T?

Re:Apple again (-1, Flamebait)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963449)

My 4G Android phone gets better battery life than my 3G iPhone. The entire article is a Troll.

Wrong, upgrades would happen anyway (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963451)

So, without Android adopting 4G, Apple would never be able to follow suit

This is simply incorrect.

The network would be upgraded with or without early adoption. The early adoption does help shake out issues (thanks as usual Android Beta Testers!) but a phone company lays out way in advance the capital required to upgrade the whole network, they are not going to be so insane as to rely on adoption in a few early cities to fund the rest of the expansion. It's just that the upgrade takes time, and as we see it takes time for the chipsets to get good as well.

They are actually more the issue, the network will be upgraded when the network provider decides it is time but the chipset makers have to feel like there's enough of a market to build against.

Re:Apple again (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963901)

So, without Android adopting 4G, Apple would never be able to follow suit, unless they want to receive the same complaints. Not that that would stop them, necessarily. Did you like all those dropped calls with the early iPhone because you were stuck on AT&T?

Two different issues.

First, Apple chose not to go LTE for one very good reason - the current LTE chipsets suck.

Here's the thing. LTE is a data standard. It doesn't define a voice standard, and there's proposals on how to do voice-over-LTE. And people want to do voice calls. So LTE phones right now hop onto the UMTS (or CDMA) network in order to handle a voice call, while doing LTE for data. The problem is that LTE phones now need two chips - one to do LTE, another to do 3G/voice (ever notice how the LTE versions of phones are always larger? It's not just the larger battery). The iPhone doesn't have enough space for another chip. Plus the extra chip takes power.

Now, Qualcomm has announced their roadmap that has a combined LTE/UMTS/GSM/CDMA baseband (listed as LTE+voice) in a single chip, which is anticipated to be in the next iPhone.

As for AT&T's dropped calls - it was because of over-aggressive power management from iPhones causing the control channel to be congested (which leads to dropped calls everwyhere in general). The irony being that the cells on AT&T were very underutilized (30-40%) but the control channel being completely saturated means dropped calls, slow data and other things.

As for who drives things - well, the carriers work with handset manufacturers. The carriers want to deploy the Next Big Thing that can charge customers more money for, and since Apple's basically an untouchable (the carrier bends to Apple's will), they work with HTC and others to stick in new chips to try to get people to pay more for a new network.

LTE deployment is quite interesting. When the (original 2G) iPhone came out, the 3G deployment in North America was quite spotty (the North American carriers chose 2G+ technolgies prior to the proper 3G rollout), but quite solid in Europe and Asia. These days, LTE deployment in North America is far more than Europe and Asia

Re:Apple again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963309)

Like Paul Mason, they only serve their wine when it is time.

I'm sorry but if you don't know the name is "Paul Masson" I'm not sure I can trust your judgment in fine wines, much less the previous content in your post :)

I'm switching power cables all damn day! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38962873)

All day I'm swapping the power cable between my iPad, iPhone and iPod... like a bitch trying to nurse neglected pups.

Re:I'm switching power cables all damn day! (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962947)

And since none of those you listed have 4G options, imagine how bad your situation WOULD be if they were! You will have to carry a power backpack!

Very frustrating (4, Interesting)

jpwilliams (2430348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962887)

I'm in SF, and I upgraded from an iPhone 3G to a HTC Thunderbolt with 4G. The Thunderbolt, even brand new, has to be charged twice a day at least, and I keep things like Bluetooth and wifi off most of the time. If I don't plug in my phone at night, it will be dead by morning.

Coming from someone who carefully manages when I plug my electronics in so as to extend their usable battery life, it sucks to have to feel like my phone always needs to be plugged in.

Is the 4g tech itself power hungry? Mine seems to have battery trouble even when I'm stationery and the 4g signal is strong.

Re:Very frustrating (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38962977)

Coming from someone who carefully manages when I plug my electronics in so as to extend their usable battery life, it sucks to have to feel like my phone always needs to be plugged in.

>

Take your nickel-chemistry assumptions about how to treat a battery out back and shoot them. There's this new battery tech called lithium-ion -- perhaps you've heard of it>? -- used in a few devices (by which I mean everything), and it does not like discharge cycles, especially deep discharges. Keep it plugged in.

Re:Very frustrating (2)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963009)

Unfortunately the HTC Thunderbolt, one of the first attempts at a 4G handset in the US, is plagued with battery issues. A quick Google [google.com] search shows that it's not just you. There are also many things you can do to try to extend the battery life such as using a resource manager like JuiceDefender [android.com] that aggressively manages your radios and display options when not in use. You can also use the phone's built-in power saving mode which can be found in your phone's settings menu. This will perform the same task in a less aggressive manner.

I used Verizon's other 4G-launch handset, the Samsung Droid Charge, and regularly got about a day and a half out of the battery. I could stretch to 2 days orso with less use. After using the JuiceDefender app I was able to get a solid 3 days. However, this was a different handset from a different manufacturer YMMV.

Re:Very frustrating (1, Informative)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963091)

People mocked Apple for not including 4G in the iPhone 4S, but your experience, and that of the entire article, seems to validate their position: 4G technology just isn't power-efficient enough (YET) to include without forcing Apple to either include a much bigger (heavier, bulkier) battery, or cut their estimated usage time significantly.

The competition pushed the "bigger screen = better" in part because it's a genuinely requested feature, but the unspoken reason was to hide the fact a bigger battery was needed to drive the 4G electronics--and obviously it's *still* not enough. It's certainly not your display that's sucking battery life--despite the 4.27" screen the Thunderbolt has less than 2/3 the pixels the iPhone 4 and 4S has.

Re:Very frustrating (-1, Troll)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963815)

People mocked Apple for not including 4G in the iPhone 4S,

We mock Apple because they pretend to be ahead of the competition in technology, when in reality they are far behind the bleeding edge.

When Apple fanboys stop pretending Iphones aren't old tech, we'll stop mocking you for it.

Android is an early adopter, we perfect new tech so by the time Apple is floundering with the introduction of LTE, Android will be running it well. Remember that Apple had trouble implementing 3G when everyone else could do it properly. As yet, Iphones still dont have HSPA+, which has been around since the Iphone was first released. The Iphone 4S does not even have 3.5 G tech (Sorry, no other country in the world thinks HSPA+ is 4G and even Australia had HSPA+ before the US).

Re:Very frustrating (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963889)

4G technology just isn't power-efficient enough (YET)

The problem isn't just the 4G hardware in the phone, it's the 4G coverage offered by cell towers.
Since coverage is spotty, the phone will spend a lot of time with the radio cranked to the max, desperately searching for a signal.

If you want to test this out, stick your phone in a *microwave.
It's not a perfect faraday cage, but it's good enough and I guarantee your battery will be dead within a few hours.

*I suggest you unplug the microwave first, to avoid any accidents.

Re:Very frustrating (2)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963193)

Interesting, I work in downtown SF and live in the East Bay and have no problem getting a full day out of a charge on my Tbolt. I picked up the phone around launch, and on the original stock firmware, battery life was pretty abysmal. I'm currently running a custom rom (Liquid Thunderbread 2.6), and now easily get a day on normal use (including roughly an hour of continuous browsing on BART each workday). My wife has the same phone and can get a couple days (she works in the East Bay and uses the Internet much less than I). She also uses a custom rom (Liquid Smooth 3.2), so that may be the difference (I believe both our phones use the "SMARTASS" governor and a clemsyn kernel).

Re:Very frustrating (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963495)

I just thought I'd say thanks for actually using the proper grammar - "... uses the Internet much less than I" (with implied 'do'). Good job, good example! :)

Re:Very frustrating (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963519)

I get better battery life if I leave wifi on. It uses less power than 3G. The exception would be if I know I'm going to be away from wifi for a while, like on the highway, but as long as your phone is passing data (when isn't it?), it's better on the battery and on the pocket book to pass it over wifi.

Re:Very frustrating (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963667)

Is the 4g tech itself power hungry? Mine seems to have battery trouble even when I'm stationery and the 4g signal is strong.

Most 4G tech is using OFDMA [wikipedia.org] . It achieves higher data rates than CDMA by using heavier signal processing to extract the data signal destined for your phone out of all phones in a cell. Previously this processing required too much power for a mobile device. But low-power CPU tech has advanced enough to where it's realistic to use it on a phone. As processor power requirements drop, the power needed for 4G will likewise drop.

JuiceDefender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38962895)

Sounds like a feminine hygiene product.

I miss the good old days (3, Insightful)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962899)

Where your phone would last a week on stand-by and you wouldn't have to hang around the single power socket in the airport departure lounge with all the other smartphone junkies waiting to charge your phone.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38962925)

Do you sleep? A charge that lasts 1 day and charging at night should be good enough for anybody.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

phayes (202222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962931)

You still can, but you have to turn off all the extras. I have lasted 6 days between charges on my iPhone 4 when out of the country & not using wifi/bluetooth/3G which were all turned off. I was even using the iphone's camera a lot but I had to switch away from the camera app quickly because it drains the battery.

Re:I miss the good old days (5, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962943)

You mean you miss the good old days where your phone was just a phone and texting capabilities was a luxury?

Because you know they still sell those, right? And those now get two weeks to a month.

Let's face it, the reason our fancy phones with internet, apps, etc. don't last very long is two-fold...
1. They do use more power - not much you can do about that right now unless you want to give up the capabilities again.
2. We keep wanting smaller and/or thinner phones. I promise you that if people would accept a phone half an inch thick again, battery life would be much improved - simply by virtue of being able to fit a much, much greater capacity battery.

Re:I miss the good old days (5, Insightful)

Ayanami_R (1725178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963059)

I would gladly take a "bulky" device with a ton of battery. I don't understand the the tablet manufacturers all trying to copy the thinness of the fruit product. Keep them relatively slim, but kill em on battery life. Take the transformer, it's thin enough and light enough. Now that they CAN make it slimmer than the fruit product DONT, fill the space with frigging battery!

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963161)

Bingo. The phone I miss is my old T-Mobile MDA (rebranded HTC Wizard). It had the usual stuff (no 3/4G, of course, but Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.), and it could run almost a week before needing to be charged. The reason why it had the battery life was partly due to the dual core OMAP CPU, and partially due to the fact that it was thick enough to handle a decent mAh battery.

I wouldn't mind a phone having a couple millimeters of thickness, if it meant significantly more battery life, and a thicker Gorilla Glass 2 screen. If phone makers can't get 64 gigabyte MicroSD cards, perhaps there might be enough room to have a slot for a second 32GB one.

Oh, and I also wish the non-fruit phone makers would stop growing the screens. If I want a tablet, I'll buy one. I want a phone with a phone size/shape, not something that can't easily fit in a back pocket.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963505)

I read somewhere that coming soon is the Moto Razr MAX, which is just the Razr only thicker, with a bigger battery. Gee, I wonder why? :D

Re:I miss the good old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963681)

If you don't mind a thicker product, you can buy extended batteries, or even get an external battery pack. I use an extended battery on my Nexus S; it adds a silly looking bulge to it, but it doubles the battery life, so I can go through a day of heavy usage (games, videos, streaming music, GPS) and still have power to spare.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963317)

You mean you miss the good old days where your phone was just a phone and texting capabilities was a luxury?

Or you could look at older mid range smart phones. My nearly 2 year old Nokia N79 gives about 5 days of use on a single charge with moderate 3G internet,voice and application use

Re:I miss the good old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963001)

Yeah I miss the days where no one had a fuckin' cell phone, and you would actual pay attention of the world around you rather than only lifting your chin while crossing the street. (Or am I being overtly optimistic about even that).

Ahh whatever, I'm just trolling; now get off my lawn!

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963159)

cell phones??? pfft, It was way better before phones period! We used to talk to each other in person!

/end im older than you, get off my lawn rant

Re:I miss the good old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963187)

Yeah I miss the days where no one had a fuckin' cell phone, and you would actual pay attention of the world around you rather than only lifting your chin while crossing the street. (Or am I being overtly optimistic about even that).

Ahh whatever, I'm just trolling; now get off my lawn!

such filthy language, do you talk around your mother like that?

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963521)

My first day in high school, I was walking down the hall while reading a book - is that the ancient equivalent of staring at one's 4G phone? The main 'in crowd' girl - most popular etc., who had met me at a party a few weeks before, sang out, "Hi Gary!" ... It took me about three steps before I was able to pop my attention stack and realize I had been addressed, and by then she was offended and my high school future was sealed. (But it would have happened soon enough anyway - I'm just not the social type even today. I _can_ be sociable but it's work.)

And I still sometimes read while walking - books, magazines, and web pages. Or I'm working out some interesting problem in my head.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963095)

Well, don't buy a smartphone. Get a RAZR, you can have that experience again.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

jonnat (1168035) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963571)

I really don't.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

firefrei (2569069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963597)

Where your phone would last a week on stand-by and you wouldn't have to hang around the single power socket in the airport departure lounge with all the other smartphone junkies waiting to charge your phone.

Aha, but you're making the classic mistake of assuming that thing you stick in your trousers is a phone. It's not - it's a portable computer which just so happens to bundle a phone app. Modern "phones" do so much more than the old dumbphones it's no wonder battery technology hasn't kept up with electronics.

enormous battery FTW (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962907)

I bought a triple sized battery for my 4G phone. My phone is friggin' enormous now... but I can use it on 4G for 12 to 16 hours. I have yet to completely kill it... even while using it on coast to coast flights.

Re:enormous battery FTW (3, Insightful)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962991)

The fact you're on coast-to-coast flights (5-ish hours) should actually *increase* battery life for that charge, since you're in airplane mode and it's not hunting for cell or wifi signals.

You're probably watching video or playing games more during the flight than you'd be running around on the ground of course, but I'm amazed how little battery is used when I watch an hour-long show on my iPhone while on the gym machines--less than 5% drained. For comparison, browsing the web or using Facebook for 30 minutes on the bus will eat 10%.

Re:enormous battery FTW (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963525)

Yep, it's the radios that eat the juice, mostly. Unless you're doing raytracing on the phone! (Does anybody do that? It would be interesting....)

Android spergs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38962909)

Remember all the trolling Android spergs on Slashdot who bashed the iPhone 4S for not having 4G? So much for that.

Re:Android spergs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963039)

I still bash the IPhone 4S. 4G may still be in it's infancy, but Apple should have jumped onboard already. If they wanna remain relevant they will have to.

Re:Android spergs (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963105)

That's right. They should ignore the 37 million iPhones sold last quarter and bet it all on the advice of a dipshit posting anonymously on an internet message board.

Re:Android spergs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963371)

That's right. They should ignore the 37 million iPhones sold last quarter and bet it all on the advice of a dipshit posting anonymously on an internet message board.

Welcome to slashdot. Natalie Portman is serving hot grits in the corner.

Re:Android spergs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963155)

Except Apple likes scalability - to keep manufacturing costs down they want to make a single iPhone that sells around the whole world and the US market still hasn't got a single 4G implementation within its own borders, let alone what the rest of the world may do. Hint: USA only accounts for about 16% of worldwide iPhone sales, so it's still a minority market.

Re:Android spergs (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963609)

News flash. All the Android phones with 4G let you turn it off when you don't need/want it. I usually leave my 4G off unless I know I'm going to do something data-intensive.

Given a choice between having a feature you can turn on and off at will, and not having the feature, the better choice is always having the feature. An iPhone 4S with 4G would've had exactly the same battery life as the 4G-less iPhone 4S, but you would've been able to get 4G data speeds whenever you felt the tradeoff in battery life was worth it.

Maybe Apple left it off because they couldn't get it working in time. Or maybe they ran into delays with licensing. Or maybe they couldn't secure enough parts. Or maybe the cynics are right and they did it so 4S owners would have a reason to upgrade to the iPhone 5. But they most certainly did not do it because it was better for their customers. That's pure PR spin which you're swallowing up hook, line, and sinker.

Re:Android spergs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963837)

Given a choice between having a feature you can turn on and off at will, and not having the feature, the better choice is always having the feature. An iPhone 4S with 4G would've had exactly the same battery life as the 4G-less iPhone 4S, but you would've been able to get 4G data speeds whenever you felt the tradeoff in battery life was worth it.

And how many of the gazillion people who bought iPhones would understand, much less remember, to do that?

My dad can't remember turn his iPad's 3G receiver to save power when he's home on wi-fi. Fortunately for him, the 3G modem is pretty efficient and the darned thing still runs all day and all night on a charge.

Apple has calculated that the no-fret longer battery life from a mature 3G chipset will result in happier customers in aggregate than the occasional speed boost of early 4G chipsets. I have zero doubt that Apple's calculus is accurate here. People don't like having to turn features off to get things to work well.

keeping 4g off should be automatic (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38962921)

The phones should really keep 4g off (& just stick to edge) unless you actually unlock your phone & start using network apps (e.g. you open mail, etc). Leave push notifications always on the most battery-efficient network available (wifi, edge, 3g, 4g, etc) & only turn on the faster networks when the apps are in focus & need them (e.g. browser, e-mail, etc) or if there's a background app that requests to use the highest-bandwidth connection available.

yes, yes - there's a latency to turning on & associating the faster radio. however, that would only be noticed in the launch first bandiwdth-heavier app after phone unlock scenario. your standby time would be waaaay better.

another trick? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962923)

What about having a fusion reactor with you, to charge your hungry 4G phone....Oh, sorry, let me go back to the future...

Re:another trick? (2)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963319)

What about having a fusion reactor with you

While not quite that, at least the name is right... Voltaic Fuse [slashdot.org]

Personally, I have given up on smart phones and have opted to carry a Clear Spot 4G wifi hotspot with me. I'm currently using my out-of-plan Evo with Google Voice and GrooveIP. While the audio could be better, it works, and it's $50/mo for all I can eat 4G that I can plug into my desktop, laptop, wifi for the Android, and it's even allowed me to keep working at work when everyone else's Internet is down because there was an accident that took out power to the entire downtown block.

This is the future... where you just pay for Internet that you can bring anywhere* and instead of getting a cell phone from some provider, you just use an Android device with wifi or an iPod touch along with Google Voice.

There's definitely at least a few telcos that Google will put out of business if they ever developed Voice into what it should be.

Re:another trick? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963327)

oops.. ctrl+v wrong link. Here's the Voltaic [voltaicsystems.com]

Re:another trick? (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963535)

Oblig: Teeny tiny Liquid Thorium Fluoride Reactor FTW!!! :D

4G = bye bye battery (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962933)

My first experience with 4G was early last year in Richmond on Sprint. Indeed it was fast, but I could almost watch my battery disappear! (OK, it wasn't THAT bad, but I estimated it cut my battery life in half). It was very handy to have the Android widget right on the first page to toggle 4G on/off, so it would shift back into the much more battery-friendly 3G.

I do wish battery technology was on the same curve as CPU technology has been. Imagine- we could have super-smart phones that were twice as fast as now, but running on one charge a week or less. (Or perhaps we could finally have some good electric car range WITH great performance at the same time). Oh well, maybe in "5 to 7 years" or whatever the standard is for anything we still can't have...

Re:4G = bye bye battery (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963043)

TFA talks about the Droid Razr Maxx's crazy long standby, talk, and video playing time. Its secret isn't any secret at all.
They took the dangerously thin Droid Razr, added less than 2mm in thickness, and then filled that space with a battery almost twice as large.

3300 mAh vs the smart phone standard of ~1700 mAh.
Designers refuse to make phones thicker in order to accommodate larger batteries.
The Razr can get away with it because, for it, "thicker" is the normal size of other phones.

Re:4G = bye bye battery (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963171)

soo... if the razr being thicker is the same as other phones, that still doesnt explain why other phones cant have the same size batt....In fact you made the argument that the other phones should be smaller, or bigger batteries.

Re:4G = bye bye battery (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963559)

I suppose 'cause they first worked very hard to make the actual electronics very, very slim for design reasons.

I also suppose that the logical conclusion of this progression is a paper-thin, flexible, transparent phone that sticks to your wrist and is powered by the motion of your hand. Which means that those sessions in the bathroom with the Penthouse centerfold will serve two purposes!

who leaves it on??? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38962951)

I know several people with 4g service, including me; none of us would turn it on unless we know we will get service (and use it) or are probing for service so we can know. Its not like 4g users dont already know the gist of the articl already.... youve got to be pretty unaware not to notice your battery drain when its on.

Re:who leaves it on??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963357)

I do the same as do the other 3 of us in the household with 4G phones (Nexus S). Even in areas where I know there is a good 4g signal, I still don't turn it on unless I really want the faster speed which is not very often. 3G is usually good enough for everything I do including streaming Pandora and Rhapsody in HQ or random IHeartRadio stations and/or browsing or using something like Latitude in realtime. I car pool up 95/395 in northern VA to DC. WIth Sprint, I get a decent capable 3G signal for streaming the entire 30 miles with the exception when I am passing by the Pentagon.

Frist' st0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963003)

distribution Make not going home Said one FreeBSD To underscore about half of the

Apologies to Steve Jobs? (1, Insightful)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963063)

I do remember everyone saying the 4S absolutely needed 4G, but Apple kept 4G out of it for this reason - it would be horrible about battery life, so bad that it would negatively affect the consumer experience.

Not that the 4S is great about battery life either, but imagine it worse.

And all this for not even 4G. Its more like 3.75G, but the American carriers lobbied to bend the rules in advertisements.

Re:Apologies to Steve Jobs? (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963165)

Concur that the 4S isn't that hot on battery life. I could go 2 full days using my old 3GS, but after day 1 on my 4S it's just a bit below 50% and I won't risk it dying in the middle of day 2. I'm not even using the whiz-bang features like Siri much.

It could just be iOS5 though--after updating my 3GS it was no longer able to last two days of usage, either.

whither bonch? (0)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963129)

33 comments posted and still no snarky comment from bonch? I are disappoint.

goog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963167)

good master....................http://corexombliz.blogspot.com/

Free Idea for the Telcos/Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963177)

Why not download those detailed coverage maps to the phone periodically, and have the phone cross reference its current location to the coverage database to automatically enable or disable the 4G antenna?

Re:Free Idea for the Telcos/Manufacturers (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963585)

Actually that would make for a really good App - an open data server that collects signal data from all the folks who have signed up and agreed to contribute the data, and constructs a dynamic map of coverage. There must be one already... ... [rummage, rummage] ... ... Like this (first one found): Crowd Sourced CoverageMapper [appbrain.com] . :D

"the" country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963215)

>With Verizon's 4G network covering a good chunk of the country

which country? Belize? Andorra?

Question Re: 4G (1)

calgar99 (856142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963219)

Without reading TFA, can someone simply tell me whether battery life is poor exclusively because 4G service is spotty, or if "full signal" 4G is still more power hungry than 3G. If it's both (as it probably is), can someone tell me which is the primary reason for 4G battery suckage? One more question... if 4G is actually a bigger drain regardless of coverage, is there anything that can be done with the technology (4G revision 2 phones, a software update, etc.), or will we need to wait for improved battery capacity or 5G before we see the problem resolved?

Happened to me (2)

XahXhaX (730306) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963235)

Within a month of buying my iPhone last year, we went camping. I put a lot of effort into preserving the battery so I could test out the compass feature the following morning and take photos all day. I didn't realize that in being unable to find a signal, it would _continuously attempt it_ all night. I had about 90% battery when we went to bed, woke up to about 5%. I was pretty unhappy with this discovery, where I previously figured they were smarter than that.

Re:Happened to me (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963407)

Sounds to me like you didn't put ANY effort into preserving the battery.

"a lot" of effort would have involved learning what kinds of things drain the battery beforehand and then avoiding them. Apple has a web page devoted to eeking the most you can get out of your iphone battery at http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html [apple.com]

A minimal amount of effort would have been turning the thing off, because turning a battery powered device off to save the batteries isn't exactly a revolutionary idea.

So what exactly did "a lot of effort" entail?

When camping, use airplane mode. (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963493)

I didn't realize that in being unable to find a signal, it would _continuously attempt it_ all night.

Yes, that's pretty much the same issue being mentioned, just that around any other city there's enough network coverage you never see that.

When camping I turn on Airplne mode, unless I'm using the GPS. Sadly use of the GPS requires turning off airplane mode, I've never understood why a receive-only technology is disabled by something meant to stop emission of radio waves...

This is news? (1)

PrimalChrome (186162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963245)

Seriously?

How Do You Turn Off 4G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963283)

Dumb Question: How do you turn off 4G (and presumably still have 3G/EDGE)? I have a Samsung S II Skyrocket with AT&T, but can't find such an option.

Re:How Do You Turn Off 4G? (1)

vikisonline (1917814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963499)

Settings -> Wifi -> Mobile Networks GSM only gives you edge HSPA only gives you up to 3g GSM/HSPA/LTE gives you up to lte

I like big butts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963297)

Screw this hole "thinner is better" thing with phones. Make them a little thicker and stuff a bigger battery in there. I have a Samsung Galazy SII that is 10 or 11 mm thick. I would rather have a phone that is 15 to 17 mm thick and have the battery from hell that would run the phone at least 48 hours with 4G and bluetooth maxing out that entire time. Stop making anorexia phones.

My android phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963383)

One thing to get more battery life, turn off background data. Granted if you want to use Market services you have to turn it on. But that significantly lengthened my battery life. It went from barely making it six hours to nearly twelve hours without having to be tethered to a charger.

LTE is overrated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963425)

And this is why T-Mo uses HSPA+. Comparable real-world speeds, without the battery drain. LTE just isn't worth it right now.

Two thoughts on battery life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38963435)

1) Have you heard of the Droid Razr Maxx? Read up on its battery life if you have not.
2) Why don't things work this way: Your phone is on 3G all the time, when you open a bandwidth intensive app (streaming video etc) THEN 4G turns on, but not until - 99% of the time your phone is sitting in your pants idle - what a waste of searching for 4G for data and 3G for voice. Easily enough, only turn 4G on when the screen is on at least -is there an app for this that I'm not aware of?

Or... (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963457)

You could get over your facebook status, tweeting every time you fart, and your dumbass dancing cat apps and just use a phone ... hell even my durn near 7 year old windows mobile 5 phone gets a week on a charge with all sorts of shit loaded on it and its original battery, but because I am not constantly dicking with it like a heroin addict it has no problem lasting

The price of being an early adopter ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963501)

This sounds like the cost of being an early adopter. The infrastructure isn't in place yet, so you have to expend more power establishing and maintaining a signal. Assuming that 4G goes mainstream, things will probably be significantly better in a few years.

Remember, these critters are radios and omnidirectional ones at that. Halving the distance to a tower will roughly quarter the required transmit power.

JuiceDefender (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963517)

I used the free JuiceDefender on my EVO 4G in order to wrangle my radios, especially the 4G which is useless in my area. I bought the latest version Ultimate and am fairly happy with it, especially the geo based wifi learning. However I don't use it to remove apps I'm not using, and don't even recall offhand if that's a feature. Just saying. - HEX

caps (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38963809)

It's not like 4G speeds are even worth it when you get capped or throttled at a measly 2GB/month

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