WDS, a UK-based Xerox group business that specialises in wireless customer experience, says smartphone makers are risking dissatisfied customers by not quoting battery performance in a way that reflects day-to-day use.
It analysed fifty of the top smartphones launched from August 2011 to August 2012, discovering that everyday features such as web browsing were generally omitted from battery specifications. Instead, there was a focus on standby time and talk time using 2G networks.
80% of the smartphones checked by WDS specified talk time on 2G/GSM networks in hours. However, only the Apple iPhone 4S and the Nokia N9 - effectively 4% of devices - specified web browsing on WiFi and on 3G.
74% of devices specified standby time on 2G/GSM (in hours)
62% of devices specified talk time on 3G (in hours)
56% of devices specified standby on 3G (in hours)
28% of devices specified audio playback (in hours)
26% of devices specified video playback (in hours)
88% of devices published details of battery capacity.
To support the findings, WDS analysed two million technical support calls taken on behalf of mobile network operators and handset manufacturers. It found that calls about battery performance had quadrupled since 2008, which meant they now made up 10% of all hardware-related technical support calls.
Tim Deluca-Smith, vice president of marketing at WDS, said “Poor battery life has become one of the most common complaints of smartphone users, and it’s not hard to see why. The majority of manufacturers simply publish stand-by and talk-time figures, which have the lowest drain on smartphone battery performance. This means that when consumers start using their smartphones in earnest - downloading and using apps and browsing the web - they often find their battery lasts less than they expected.”
“A vital aspect of customer experience is setting the right expectation. No single manufacturer can really overcome the limitations of today’s batteries, but they can take the lead in better informing customers. This will not only boost satisfaction, but will also save money for them and their mobile operator partners. Battery life is not something that a consumer can gauge in-store. Simply stating that a device has a 1700mAh battery is meaningless; performance data needs to be in line with real-world use.”