Friday, May 21, 2010

Testing HTC Incredible Recharge Cycling Rumors

Rumors in forums state that when the phone is charged just one time, it reaches a full charge that is less than the battery's true potential full charge.

Using Battery Snap I measured battery voltage between charges. I did find that second and third charges increased the apparent charge level in the phone. To do this I followed the procedure:
  1. Charge with phone on until the indicator LED turns green.
  2. Turn the phone off, charge again until the indicator LED turns green again.
  3. Repeat #2.
The only thing I did different was to turn the phone on between each step and look at Battery Snap readings. When I was done, I had Battery Snap export its data (in CSV format) and I created the following graph:

From the data it does appear that the mV level of the battery can reach new highs with this procedure. Even as an electrical engineer, an employee of Qualcomm, and a member of the Snapdragon design team, I don't have a ready explanation for this. Not surprise there, I don't do batteries!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Must have Android Apps

Two weeks with Verizon's HTC Incredible.... here are some must have apps:

  • audio manager 
    • way better than going into settings->Sound & Display
    • Bonus: it is the only way to turn down the phone dialer volume
  • battery snap
    • great historical graphs of battery usage (how much did watching that video kill it?)
  • weather channel widget
  • realcalc (sci/eng calculator)
  • Listen
  • Pandora

What are your must have apps? I have urban spoon, but it isn’t must have.... So, what are your top 3 or 4 must have apps?

What apps are so good you paid for?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Maximize your Verizon HTC Incredible's Battery Life

Want your Android phone, such as the HTC Droid Incredible, to be usable all day? Too much to ask? Seems like it might be - what with reports that a hardly used Verizon HTC Droid Incredible is at 50% battery capacity after just 4 hours off the charger. This contrasts sharply with Laptop Magazine's assertion that they ran the phone from 9am to 11pm with no trouble.

From the Android Forums thread on the topic, here are some things you can do (that aren't the bunk about battery charging/cycling etc):
  1. Slow down widget update frequency. Stock widgets, weather widgets, twitter, facebook, email are doing what they do, keeping you informed. But you can save juice by making them update less often.
  2. Lower the screen brightness manually. Auto is nice, but it is very bright most of the time.
  3. Disable bluetooth and GPS.
  4. Try out battery optimizing software like Power Manager. Also try WISyncLocale or Toggle Settings.  These can turn off your network radios, saving power. Some can do things like turn them off for 14 minutes then on for one minute, or according to location, time of day etc.
  5. Read this guy's post on doubling his battery life.
Best post in the thread:
What is the point of having the device if everything needs to be turned off? 

Here are Most Wanted killers for battery life:

1. Sense 2.1
2. Widgets
3. 3G
4. Flash media -watch a few videos and check your battery status. No point in mentioning Flash games, since not many work correctly with touch-only anyways (no harm no foul). Should be much better with 10.1 and gpu support.
5. Pushing mail
6. Social apps running in background are killer- especially if they use GPS 

The main issue is manufacturers keep making thin devices that have to ship with wimpy batteries. I seem to also notice the main people that complain about battery life are some of the same ones that LOVE thin & light devices. Ironic.

The extended battery will be a must for anyone expecting to use many of the features.

If all else fails, get a bigger battery. Here is one that fits inside the existing battery door, adding 450 mAH over the stock battery  -  a 35% increase. (Note some say 1750 mAH is not what you get).

If you don't mind making the phone thicker, a I have seen mention of a 2150 mAh battery. I could not find a solid link to it though. Reports say is will be made available by VZW soon. These reports also claim that this battery will add about 1mm to the phone's thickness. Not bad.