Phones and devices and their batteries

Apparently sales of tablets are now dropping. Even iPads. And apparently this is because the trend is to buy both bigger mobile phones, that can be used like a small tablet (phablet) as well as hybrid laptops that can function either as a laptop or a tablet. So both larger phones and hybrid laptops are selling well.

Having been using a laptop, tablet and mobile for several years, I had thought to continue this pattern. But my mobile’s battery now can last only a short time, being almost two years old, and my tablet, barely one year old, has a much shorter time between charges than when I first bought it. Plus, as often seems to happen, the headphone jack is worn out on my phone.

So, what to do about devices? Batteries are only good for a year, then passable for up to another year. An article I read the other day said that batteries only last for about 800 charges, or about two years. Headphone jacks wear out for me after a year and a half.

I know I could use Bluetooth thereafter, but I don’t want the radiation exposure.

Changing the battery or using a power pack isn’t the answer long term every time.  If batteries were removable like they used to be, that would be fine.  But now they are not, so you pay the manufacturer full retail price for a battery, then the same amount again to install the new one.  Before you could buy batteries discounted from eBay, so total cost was about one-third of now. So, non-removable batteries give more design freedom to manufacturers.  But they’ve made this into another profit feature for them.

Of course, for Samsung this backfired with their inflammable Note phone, as if batteries were replaceable, all they’d have to do is issue new batteries, instead of recalling and replacing all the phones.  It cost them much more, and was worse for their reputation. And there’d be less landfill if batteries were easily replaceable, as people would use their phones longer, or recycle them more.

Rather than have several devices, perhaps it’s better to minimise the number of devices and then change them as needed. So, to follow the trend mentioned above, and have a large phone and hybrid laptop.The PC is also used for reading in tablet format when at home, which is mostly, and the phone for reading when out. This would reduce the amount of time keeping them updated and maintained.

So have only two devices, and keep the PC for quite a long time, but change the other when the battery and / or the headphone jack is worn out.

As for now, while on my trip I retired the phone as its battery life was about 10 minutes, and swapped over to my tablet, which also has a SIM slot, so can function as a phone. I’ve installed the usual apps on it, put in a bigger SD card, and wondered if I should try and update to Marshmallow. I will use the tablet and maybe change the battery and continue with it until the battery life is again poor  or the headphone jack is worn out. Then I’ll follow the above trend if it still seems appropriate.

Hybrid PC’S are still rather pricey, though, so one has to shop around. And when you track down a good device it isn’t necessarily available in Malaysia.  The PC I would buy now is only available in Malaysia in a lower specification than available in the US, Singapore, Germany etc.  In those countries you can purchase the device with a more powerful processor, much more RAM, and better resolution screen. One shop tells me that some customers go abroad to buy for this reason.

I do read, however, that a couple of manufacturers may make phones with a fold out screen that makes them into tablets when you want the bigger screen size. And these could be out in a year or two.  And I’ve seen a screen on Kickstarter, I think, that mirrors your phone but is bigger and quite cheap, so you wouldn’t need a tablet anyway.

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