Wearable Tech

Forget it, what people want is more battery life.

This obsession with “thin” phones makes me crazy. Have the gay men who run the fashion industry, but hate normal female bodies, taken over tech as well?

I just “upgraded” from my dying Droid Global 2, a phone whose batteries were easily changed, for a Droid 4, which has a better OS, and is 4G instead of 3G, and slightly thinner, but has a non-replaceable battery. I consider it a downgrade.

22 thoughts on “Wearable Tech”

  1. You’d think they could come up with a practical system to charge the batteries to these gizmos while they’re in use using Solar or movement. Worked OK with self winding watches.

    1. Smartphones need a *lot* more power. If you are ok with putting it in the sun for like three days to use it 6-8 hours maybe it would work. There are some solar phone chargers but they usually come with foldable solar cells to increase the area and charge at an acceptable speed but then it stops being portable.

    2. There are some phones/apps that try/tried to take advantage of the weight in the motor used for the phone’s vibration notification, and allow people to shake the phone to charge the battery, but it was only nominally effective, and more of a gimmick or novelty than anything else. “Lightest phone available” and “large enough motor to charge the battery” are competing ideas.

      The reason self-winding watches work as well as they do is because people move their arms when they walk around and throughout the day. A cell phone in a pocket has nowhere near the movement that a watch does.

      Solar panels on a cell phone are also in competition with use of a phone in a sunny environment. Cell phones are notoriously difficult to read in direct sunlight, even at full-backlight, and the brighter the backlight, the more battery power is used.

      Plus, as Godzilla mentioned, the power requirements for a phone are significantly higher than a watch movement.

      So-called “renewables” aren’t the answer to every power problem facing humans; in fact, they’re rarely the best answer to just about any power-related problem, as we’re finding out.

  2. I just upgraded to an LG G3. It’s got a replaceable battery–that’s mostly why I chose it instead of the HTC One M8–and it’s surprisingly light on the battery, even though I game on it quite a bit.

      1. No, it’s got a soft keyboard, with Swype, that to me–as a lifelong touch-typist, and someone who has had phones with physical keyboards, prefers. With a tiny bit of training, I feel like it’s faster.

      2. I hate the soft keyboard on e.g. iPhones, Androids and other phones. However, even though using a bluetooth keyboard (with many of them) is an option, I haven’t done so, since (post iPhone 4S) a well-enough-working facility transcribing dictation into text has been available, and even though some fixup using its crappy keyboard is almost always required, it’s still so much easier than typing (even on a decent keyboard) that I’ve never bothered doing anything else.

  3. From the time I got my first mobile phone in 1994 until the first iPhone in 2007, the reason I got a new phone was always that the connection between phone and battery became unreliable, and the phone would silently switch off in my pocket, a state that sometimes went unnoticed for days.

    I am SO HAPPY that iPhones have batteries that have soldered connections, so I have not had to worry about this for almost eight years.

    If you run out of battery during the day there are a multitude of options to recharge it, from carrying a simple USB cable to plug in opportunistically, to battery packs that can recharge the phone 2 – 5 times (or more), to protective caees with a built in battery pack.

    I would NOT want to go back to the hell of removable batteries.

    1. Well, that’s funny, because it’s a problem that I never, ever had, with my phone. It had very solid spring-loaded contacts, and I often removed/replaced batteries, to keep things clean. I doubt that it’s been a real tech problem since 1994. 🙂

      1. Yeah, I have NEVER had that fail on a phone, and I’ve had cell phones for about 12 years now, and my wife almost as long. If you use your phone much, the battery wearing out is a far greater concern. My last two phones, which I still have, have tiny battery lives after 2 years.

        1. Call me crazy, but I think that’s deliberate, just as the crap quality on American cars was in the seventies. “Battery dead? Too bad, but here’s a new phone!?

          1. OK, you’re crazy 🙂

            Seriously, I’ve had two iPhones: a 4 that I bought in mid-2010, and a 5s that I got in fall 2013. The battery on the 4 was not noticeably weaker on the day I got rid of it than when I bought it more than three years earlier. My 5s, about 18 months old now, has seen no decrease in battery life. I’ll probably pick up a new one this fall though because I really want Apple Pay…

            And BTW, I got $200 trade in on that iPhone 4 without even trying hard; not bad for a 3-year-old phone with only 16 GB storage.

          2. Ah, but it’s not just a phone, it’s a pocket computer! Reminds me of one of my leads back in the ’80s who owned an Apple II but refused to play any games on it because he couldn’t reconcile himself to using CPU cycles on non productive activities 🙂

            Seriously, the Apple products work great for me and allow me to do things I want to do. Isn’t capitalism great?

          3. Yep! I got very lucky when my iPhone 5 turned out to have battery problems as it neared its 2nd birthday, turns out Apple had to issue me a new battery for free because of an acknowledged defect. With luck, I can stretch the phone another 2 years. I also wish Apple would kick the thinness fetish and give a multi-day battery.

          4. “Call me crazy, but I think that’s deliberate, just as the crap quality on American cars was in the seventies. “Battery dead? Too bad, but here’s a new phone!?”

            Maybe, but it’s not as if “rechargeable batteries wear out” is new or specific to cell phones. Every rechargeable battery I’ve ever seen, from AAs to cell phones, to Gameboys to laptops, wears out after a few hundred cycles.

  4. Or, if you’re like me, you’re waiting for better battery life for your wearable tech. I’m waiting on a refresh for the Moto 360 with a better battery.

  5. Nobody outside a few geeks cares about replaceable batteries or > 16 hour battery life.

    (Seriously. Nobody.

    I’m a geek, and I prefer modern slim phones to a chunky, heavy brick with >24 hour non-idle battery life.

    I have never once in my life replaced a phone battery for extended life, even back when it was possible.

    Because I never need that, and I carry the thing around all the time.

    Want a thicker phone with more life? They sell that, in the form of a battery case.)

  6. While I prefer the ability to muck with my devices, I’m more than happy with my iPhone 4S and its battery life. I’m still considering the 6, but right now don’t need it. I do agree with Rand that one pays a premium for Apple, and I believed that since my days with Apple IIe and moving to my first Mac SE (and my last Apple PC). However, as Sigivald notes best along with others, I don’t care about replaceable battery or my iPhone battery life.

    For my usage, my iPhone battery lasts just over a day. I’m careful how I use it, because I realize certain things will increase battery use. For instance, leaving the phone in phone mode in areas of poor signal will cause the phone to constantly search for connectivity. This increase battery use and drains it quickly. So I have no problem turning off certain reception features, which is even easier to do with iOS8.

    I’m also starting to use wearable tech. Primarily, I use the health devices with a Polar Heartbeat monitoring and a Fitbit pedometer. I just ordered my first smart watch today. These aren’t just gadgets to me, as I use them as designed and have lost a good deal of weight in the process (caveat: when used alongside a healthy paleo diet).

    What I really see is a market inadequacy. Some people don’t really want a “smart” phone. They want a phone. Or to the extent that want more than just a phone, they are happy with enhanced communication such as text, twit, IM, maybe web; but not to the extent that the phone also provides great gaming, youtube, GPS, and other features. And those who don’t want those other features want a communication device which is rugged and long lasting for communications. I suspect many former blackberry users would even be included in this category.

  7. I, too, just upgraded – I guess we can call it that – from a Droid Pro to a Droid Maxx. (When, by the way, did the world start referring to Motorola as Moto? Threw me off, at first.) When it comes to it, I don’t seem any worse a typist on the soft keyboard than I had been on the Pro’s little physical keyboard. I miss it much less than I thought I would. Also, been making a point to use voice-to-text more and it does seem to have improved in recent years.

    As to batteries, when I replaced mine, the new one seemed only slightly better than the old one. Had the same issue with cell phone batteries back when, making me suspect that most replacement batteries were somehow “rebuilts” that only looked new.

    But the real joy of the new phone, beyond better battery life – for now – and faster response – also, probably, for now – is that the newer version of the OS is simply better, more intuitive, more helpful. Yes, I suspect I will be getting a new phone every two or three years and will not let it drag on as long as I did the last one. Yes, planned obsolescence, I suspect, but I am not going to be the lone warrior with the old, failing phone again. When I finally realized that I would be hard-pressed to use my phone quickly in urgent situations, I went ahead with the heave-ho.

  8. I want a phone that lasts as long as roman roads. I’ve got other things I’d rather worry about. It’s a real shame we haven’t developed a recharging system that extracts sufficient energy from the whole spectrum of radiation that always surrounds us.

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