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Have “Talk Time” And “Stand By Time” Become Outdated

With the release of the Verizon HTC Thunderbolt in limbo, and battery issues being the rumored reason, it brings a question back to us that we started asking a year or so ago and that is: Has “Talk Time” Become outdated.

Current cell phones (non smartphones) now boast 12+ hours of Talk time and 8,432,343 hours of stand by time (ok that’s an exaggeration if you didn’t know that already)

For years, OEM’s (original equipment manufacturers) have been using the subjective measurements of talk time vs standby time to boast the battery life of their devices.  Talk Time is the amount of hours you can use your phone with the radio on transmitting and receiving both sides of the conversation. Stand by time is the amount of time you’re not in a call, therefore consuming less power.

More after the break

The principal of talk time and stand by time deal with the phone, the cellular radio and whether the user is using the phone or not. It’s simple and straight forward. On a non-smartphone there are only a limited number of variables that would alter significantly the amount of talk time. For example; receiving and transmitting a text message, or an email, or perhaps playing a non-smartphone game.

Smartphones on the other hand are an entirely different story.  Back in the old days (lol) when they came up with talk time and stand by time, it was, as we stated above, based on one radio, the cellular radio.  The smartphone has multiple radios including:
cellular radio
bluetooth radio
GPS (some may argue its not a radio)
4G radio*
FM Radio*
*not available on all smart phones

So in the case of the Android device or any smartphone for that matter, you are looking at a minimum of 3 radios and possibly five radios. You also have to factor in data sync, game play, productivity,social media,  sending SMS/MMS messages, email and push notifications.  Based on all of that, how can any manufacturer or carrier truly define “average use” and “talk time/ standby time”.

Take for instance my mother. She has a smart phone, uses it for occasional Facebooking, Tweeting, 10 calls a day, no more than 5 emails a day, a handful of SMS and a few MMS messages. She uses an original Droid, which in our opinion, has a better than average battery life. Is she an average user?

Another thing that adds to the misconception of standby time in smartphones is background notifications and of course syncing.  See now, when you’re not on a call your radios are still going and constantly.

Which features need to be disabled to get an accurate reading of talk vs standby time.

Although we may be the only ones in the room at CTIA asking this question, we are going to ask it because this measurement system, at least in 2011, is very outdated.

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