My contract for my beloved Droid X is about to expire and my inner geek is gushing with excitement at choosing a shiny new phone. But that excitement is quelled by the lack of 4G in most of Alabama. We’ve all seen the commercials about “4G” (fourth generation) data speeds that Verizon, AT&T and T-mobile are touting. Download speeds are often up to 10 times faster on 4G networks than they are on the 3G we enjoy over most of north Alabama. I’d love to have me some of that! Unfortunately, it is not to be. For now.
now, the only places in Alabama that actually have 4G coverage are
larger cities such as Huntsville, Decatur, Birmingham and Mobile and
each of those areas only have one tower that radiates 4G in a 10 mile
radius. Those of us outside those areas will have to wait and, if past
experience is any indicator, we will wait for years. This conundrum
exposes a problem with the new 4G phones in areas not served by 4G
signals: Battery life. The internet is rampant with users complaining of
battery drain using new 4G phones.If you live in an area well served by
4G coverage, battery life seems to be normal. However, if you are in
the edges of coverage or even in a large city where buildings can
sometimes block 4G signals, the phone constantly searches for a good
signal. The constant searching drains the battery. You iPhone users can
pretty much ignore this problem since even the newest iPhones do not yet
support 4G. Rumor has it that 4G will be offered in the new iPhone 5
coming out later this year.
your phone’s settings so that it stays locked to 3G is said to increase
battery life by 100% - or a full day instead of a half day.
Manufacturers are starting to hear the complaints and are responding
with phones that have bigger batteries. One of the newest phones is the
Motorola’s RAZR Maxx. It is getting some good reviews and packs a huge
battery. And that exposes another conundrum for smartphone users; While
consumers are demanding exponentially more and more power from their
phones, battery manufacturers are, on average, improving battery life
only by about 1% per year. Unless some fantastic breakthrough in battery
technology comes along, we consumers can expect bigger, fatter phones
to accommodate fatter batteries so we can whet our bigger, fatter apatite for data.
are some things you can do to improve battery life. First, lithium ion
batteries in our phones are only able to be charged a few hundred times
before they start delivering less power. So if your phone is more than
about 18 months old, it could probably use a new battery. Next, check
your phone’s settings. The screen is the biggest battery hog so turn
down the brightness and make sure that “auto dim” is turned on so that
your screen will automatically dim in low light conditions. Next, set
your email, Twitter and Facebook applications to poll less frequently.
Finally, Navigate to Settings -> About Phone -> Battery Use and
take a look at what other things are drinking your battery juice. Turn
them off if you don’t need them.