Cyberclinic: Why is my battery reading so inaccurate?
Wednesday 20 August 2008
The most used word on the British mobile-phone network is a quizzical and repeated, "Hello?" Unimaginably important mobile-phone conversations are cut off in their prime, just as they reach a critical stage in the exchange of information. All you know is that the person to whom you were once talking is inaudible; you don't know whether it's the fault of your network, your phone or theirs – and, nor do they.
A couple of technology bloggers have been complaining recently that both the signal power and battery-life meters on many mobiles don't give us accurate information. A former employee of a major phone manufacturer revealed that on a full, three-bar battery meter, you might only have half your battery life left – at which point it ticks down – 30 per cent at two bars, 15 per cent at one bar. And this could be customised by the network to make things better or worse.
Some would rather have a linear battery meter that gave them precise information. Others, such as reader Ian Kemmish, don't see what the fuss is about. "There are excellent user interface reasons for this," he posted on our blog. "If you are running out of a critical resource, then you want enhanced resolution at the lower end of the scale."
But room is no longer so tight on new, larger screens, and surely, giving us a simple percentage surely wouldn't be so difficult? Or do manufacturers want us to believe their batteries stay stronger for longer? Signal bars are more complex, but could still be accused of exaggerating. They combine two readings: the raw signal strength from the mast, and the signal-to-noise ratio; the latter is more significant, but it seems more weight is given to the former. So effectively, a full complement of signal bars means your phone can "hear" the mast, but the mast can't necessarily hear your phone.
Of course, we've come to accept that mobiles aren't always the most reliable gadgets in the world. But wouldn't it be better if they told us how things are, rather than how we wish they were?
Email any technology gripes to email@example.com or join the discussions at www.independent.co.uk/cyberclinic . Currently under discussion: how have phone companies got away with introducing per-minute billing?
Life & Style blogs
Holocaust Memorial Day: 70 years since Auschwitz liberation, these are the stories of survivors
Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Hershey's angers US chocolate purists by forcing company to stop importing 'yummy' Cadbury bars
Facebook, Instagram websites down — Lizard Squad hint at involvement, but Facebook claims it broke itself
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 5 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...
£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity for an ...
£20 - £25 per hour: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a hu...