Posts tagged ‘blackberry’

How to Increase Mobile Phone Battery Life

By Chad Upton | Editor

Sometimes, you’re far from your charger and won’t be back anytime soon. Here are some tips to extend your battery when it’s running low.

Not all of these tips will apply to all phones, so use the ones that match the features on your phone. If your phone, camera or other gadgets frequently run out of power while you’re away from an outlet, consider an economical backup battery charger.

Turn Off 3G and Data

Most data capable phones can operate in different modes. If you turn off the high-speed wireless data mode, such as 3G, you will significantly reduce the power your phone consumes. This is the single biggest thing I find affects battery consumption.

Dim the Screen

The screen’s backlight uses a lot of power, keeping it off as much as possible will extend battery life. On the iPhone, press the top button, on many BlackBerrys, press ALT + ENTER to lock the keyboard and shutoff the screen. If your phone has an option to adjust the brightness, dim it. If it has auto-brightness, enable it. If you can set an “auto off” time then set it to the shortest time allowed.

Text Message Instead of Calling

If you can get away with communicating by text message, this can save power too. Although, it does require your screen, so short messages are better. These messages are embedded in the signals that your phone is already sending and receiving to normally communicate with the mobile network, even when you’re not using the phone, so it’s a very efficient way to communicate.

Turn Wifi and Bluetooth Off

Wifi and Bluetooth are great conveniences, but when you’re away from your charger and worried about losing phone capabilities, they’re a luxury that can go. Most phones with these features, have an option to disable them.

Don’t Play Games or Music

Well designed mobile phone processors have a low power mode that sips power when the phone is waiting for incoming calls in standby mode. Playing games requires the processor to work at its limit, which requires a lot more energy than standby mode. The same goes for playing music, especially if they’re compressed, high bit-rate or encrypted or drm protected music files — extra processing is needed to process these files and power the headphones or internal speaker.

Stop Background Apps

Some background apps use more power than others, it really comes down to the hardware in the phone the app is using (ex GPS) and how processor intensive the activity is.

Generally, if you’re trying to save power, closing the apps you don’t need can save power. This mostly applies to BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices.

It isn’t as important on iPhone since background apps aren’t true background apps, they have limited capabilities and therefore don’t consume a significant amount of battery power. That said, if you have a GPS tracking, VOIP or a music playing app running in the background, it could use significant amounts of power over long periods of time and it should be closed.

If you have any other ideas, drop them in the comments. Thanks to Kraig Brachman for suggesting this secret.

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August 4, 2010 at 5:00 am 58 comments

Free Text Messaging on iPhone and iPod Touch

By Chad Upton | Editor

Update: After many problems with PingChat!, I’d be hesitant to recommend it any longer. WhatsApp seems to be the best alternative at this time. It’s available for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Nokia (Symbian).

I know this is pretty specific to iPhone and iPod touch users, but with 50 million iPhones sold and 35 million iPod touches, there are 85 million of you out there.

Ever since the introduction of the iPhone 3GS and the 3.0 Operating System last year, push notifications have been available to iPhone users. Basically, these are real time messages that can be sent to your phone from Apple’s notification server.

The best part about these messages is that they’re free and your iPhone or iPod touch can be on standby or in any application when you receive them.

There are lots of applications (“apps”) that use this feature. For example, the facebook app (free) will buzz your phone with a notification when someone sends you a message or comments on a photo…etc.

The associated press (free) app will give you push notifications when breaking news is happening, allowing you to tune in and catch the car chase live or see the story as it’s unfolding.

One of the most practical uses for this feature is instant messaging. My favorite text messaging application for iPhone is PingChat! (Ping! Lite is also available for free). This app is great if you text a lot but don’t want to pay for it.

PingChat! works just like the native text messaging application on iPhone, except all your messages are free. With the paid version, which only costs $0.99, you can send pictures too. This app also works for iPod Touch users, so you can text message them when they are on a wifi network.

PingChat! is like Blackberry Messenger for iPhone — users within the blackberry network can message each other for free with Blackberry Messenger.

Since I have a lot of friends outside the US, this is a great way for us to keep each other up-to-date with the little things and avoid the $0.50/message SMS cost for international texts.

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May 20, 2010 at 5:00 am 43 comments


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