Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 18th Mar 2012 21:23 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless This past week and this weekend I've finally found the time to enter into the colorful world of custom Android ROMs. After figuring out just how insanely great and awesome ClockWorkMod Recovery is, I set about to figure out what the best Ice Cream Sandwich ROM is for the Galaxy SII. While the answer to that question became clear quite quickly, this answer also gave rise to a whole bunch of other questions.
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Coming next in my priorities is battery life, which should preferably be good enough to survive a week-end without a power adapter, which means about 3 days of intensive texting and light web&youtube browsing. Bad luck : every single popular smartphone OS sucks in this department. In less popular circles, Blackberry OS, bada and Symbian do provide good performance on this front, but bada does not come on a device with hardware keyboards anymore, and buying Symbian-running hardware means putting money in Nokia's CEO and shareholders pockets, which I'm not interested in.

The main culprit isn't the smartphone OS, it's the 3g/4g radios. If you want your phone to last a weekend with texting and light web browsing, disable 3g. 3G+ enabled Symbian and Blackberry phones are not immune, although Blackberry has an inherent advantage in that it doesn't need to maintain a constant data connection if you're on a BIS/BES plan.

I spent a week in Cuba and brought my Nexus One to use for calls and texting, data wasn't an option so I disabled it. Phone went 5 days before I needed to charge. When I travel up to the cottage or somewhere for the weekend with my Galaxy Nexus, I set it to 2G which is sufficient for checking emails or light data use, and the battery will last the weekend.

I agree with your general point that smartphone battery life sucks in general, and while optimizing the OS can help, there's only so much that can be done when there are multiple radio transmitters of various types drawing juice from the battery constantly at a time when everybody seems to want slimmer and sleeker phones. Disabling those radios that aren't needed can work wonders.

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