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Why NOT to Worry About the PlayBook’s Battery Life

Once again, analyst Shaw Wu is pushing the claim that the PlayBook will have poor battery life. The calm and rational response is that we don’t really know, and will have a much clearer answer when it is released in a few weeks. The vindictive response is however more fun and interesting.

Despite being an analyst for Kaufman Bros. Wu’s record is actually quite poor. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has publically dismissed him, and has described him as having “a history for being wrong”, and for sounding “pretty confused”. But even if you ignore the messenger there is plenty to find wrong with the argument.

The first main point against battery life is that Flash is a memory hog, and is the only point with some merit behind it. Flash is not known as being resource friendly, but that does not apply to the AIR platform, and is only really applicable when actually using Flash. A number of Android devices have had Flash on them now without causing battery life to suffer anywhere near extent that is claimed.

Another of Wu’s arguments is that RIM’s implementation of the power management system is not up to par with Apple’s. Obviously RIM has stated that they haven’t even implemented theirs yet, but even then RIM’s track record speaks for itself. When it comes to smartphones, BlackBerry has consistently gotten better battery life then Apple and Samsung, and there is no reason not to expect that experience to transfer over to tablets. RIM has always taken pride in their efficiency, and a new OS is not going to change that.


The final argument is the QNX is not designed for mobile devices. While this is technically true, the same could be said for the Linux that Android is based off of or Mac OSX which is the basis for Apple’s iOS. In fact the QNX system is almost perfect for mobile devices. QNX has a micro-kernal design that can run on a RISC based architecture, and is designed for embedded devices. You can not ask for a more battery friendly core then that.

Wu also chooses to ignore the reasons why battery life will not be an issue. Downloading and uploading data over the 3G network causes more battery drain then using wi-fi, recording video, running flash, or ever playing back HD video. Yet this is one potential battery drain that will not be an issue.

The final and most important point is that the PlayBook will be a low heat device. Back in early October I explained why this would not be an issue.

One of the reasons why people are worried about the battery life is because of the PlayBook’s impressive processing power. The specs indicate the kind of processing that usually requires a 4-inch heat sink and a few fans to cool off. Instead however they have placed all of this technology inside a 9.7mm shell. This implies that they have solved the heat problem, and if the heat problem is solved it is low power, and if it is low power it will minimize strain on the battery.

As a low-power low-heat device the BlackBerry PlayBook will also be kind to your battery.

Let us know what you think!

20 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I think he’s just afraid that it may just do better than the iPad. Haha! I can’t wait to see how well this does for Blackberry®. Afterall, they need it to save them from falling behind any further. They are broadening the gap with their out-of-date devices. I’m still pulling for RIM, tho 🙂

  2. I don’t think battery life will be an issue. I trust RIM. They will take care of us. Wu is probably just sad that he isn’t a BlackBerry supporter… Hahaha… 🙂

  3. Great read. Didn’t really know the QNX OS architecture but surely knew it was one of the top secured. Its impressive to solve the heat problem fitted inside that slim product as even now PC or Mac users especially complaints about the CPU temperature and memory comsumption while watching Flash movies online.
    Flash 10.1 seems to be better as they are running and able to run on more mobile devices.

    As far as I remember QNX is known as its great performance relating towards the memory consumption. More the memory available (RAM) more cooler the processor stays.

  4. What do I think? I think Kaufman Bros. would be better off with you guys.

  5. This read actually settled my nerves. Hope Rim breakes the 10 hours runtime of Ipad with at least 10 hours more.

  6. Good analysis Eric.

    With Wu’s track record in tech, one is best served by making their play exactly the opposite of anything he writes.

  7. Everyone needs a scapegoat. But, I’m glad Wu is shooting his mouth off about the battery life. That will push RIM to improve over the current competition in the hopes of avoiding an “I told you so” moment with Kaufman et al.

  8. Hey Wu, Nice dick broom…

  9. It doesn’t matter what anybody has to say, I still want 1.

  10. Wu is probably hating the fact that he doesn’t have a playbook

  11. Great article Eric! I think Mrs. Wu here is just mad that he didn’t get a Playbook like all the other kids on the playground. So he’s whining and tossing up some b*tching.

    If it’s one thing I know RIM has under control its battery life. Just want it to get here!

  12. Mr. Wu must be just another Apple fanboy.

  13. You could give Wu a friggin’ rock with iPhag on it and he’d say it’s the greatest invention in mobile communications to date. He’s just like every other co*k chugger out there with an ipad/phone/etc. Steve Jobs in god. Give me a break. Someone needs to cut this tools fingers off. We all know the playbook is going to run circles around the rest of the tablet market. I hope! Haha. RIM ftw

  14. I knew Wu was wrong. They have always been wrong. I’m a bit disappointed BR. When the initial post came out, you’all wrote
    “This can be taken as rumors but the Kaufman Brothers is a reputable company so there could be some truth to the rumor. ”

    • I can see what they mean though. Kaufman Bros isn’t bad, it’s just one of their so called “experts”. But in saying that, you are only as good as your weakest link. So…

      And someone tell him to shave off that horrible mustache!

  15. This does not affect my desire to get one.

  16. Wu sucks

  17. And now (just 2 days later) RIM is stating that battery life will be around 8 hours…

  18. i don’t think getting to 8 hours is an issue. there was a pic of the battery level at 5 or so hours and battery optimization hasn’t even been implemented.

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