Analyst: Battery Life Still a Concern for RIM's Playbook, Flash at Fault

Analyst: Battery Life Still a Concern for RIM's Playbook, Flash at Fault

After reports surfaced that Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet might suffer from poor battery performance, RIM was quick to downplay the issue. According to RIM, any testing done on existing units were performed on pre-beta versions of the PlayBook, all of which didn't have any power management schemes built in. When the final product ships, battery life will be comparable to other tablets, RIM said.

Sounds plausible, but according to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu, it's still unlikely the PlayBook will offer "anywhere near the battery life of the iPad at 10 hours unless it uses a larger battery." Wu gives three reasons why he believes this.


First, and biggest among them, is Flash support. According to Wu, Flash will drag the PlayBook's battery performance down, perhaps as much as in half. Secondly, Wu points to the QNX operating system, which wasn't designed for the PlayBook and instead meant for devices that draw more power. And finally, Wu says that RIM's implementation of power management isn't as slick as that of Apple's.

All told, Wu says the best the PlayBook can hope for is six hours of battery life, the same as the Galaxy Tab, and about half of what is offered by the iPad. And that's only after "significant re-engineering," he says.
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what a joke..

1) Can Mr WU explain, the how just supporting flash will consume more battery. If flash is supported but not in use, it will not milk the battery. And I guess for apple-to-apple comparison, iPAD and Playbook should be compared when same application is running on both. you can not compare battery life a standby iPAD and hi-def video playing Playbook.

2) There is no OS which is designed to suck power...no programmer is fool that he will keep hardware modules On when they are not required. And obviously RIM would have tailored QNX for this device..why can't he just see RIM's technical excellence obvious in their previous products.

3) For his third point, Should I assume Wu has seen how apple OS is managing each and every clock of processor, and he had a Deja-Vu that RIM engineers have suddenly forgotten how to manage power.

All the crap..why can't he directly join Apple's marketing team.. he will fit there A LOT.

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What_the_heck: Why are you capitalizing iPad so strangely?

1) I agree with your point about not *automatically* assuming the Playbook will use more power than the iPad, and for the same reason--if the machine isn't using Flash, Flash isn't going to magically drain the battery. That said, if the Playbook downloads and displays Flash content by default it will, by extension, download more data and devote more system resources to displaying that content than a non-Flash device will. Depending on the sites you surf, automatically leaving Flash on could have an impact on battery life, even if the user isn't watching Flash video.

2). You've misinterpreted the meaning of " QNX operating system, which wasn't designed for the PlayBook and instead meant for devices that draw more power." The point here is that QNX was not explicitly designed for low-power systems. That's a potentially serious problem, and it's something RIM has undoubtedly spent a lot of time fixing.

Modern power-saving technologies don't operate in a vacuum. In order for such functions to function correctly, they must be supported by the CPU *and* the operating system (in PCs, they also need to be supported via firmware, but I'm not certain this is true on the mobile side of things). Furthermore, while it's presumably possible to patch QNX to support these options, it's almost certainly not as effective as overhauling the OS with a fine-toothed come to ensure the entire codebase is optimized to maximize battery life. RIM may or may not have done this; it's reasonable to raise the topic as a potential concern.

3) See #2. Apple has had years to optimize OS X, which itself incorporates mobile power conservation capabilities that are functionally similar (if less expansive) than those you'd find in a mobile phone.Above, I noted that RIM may be in the process of performing this very optimization, but Apple has *also* gone to the trouble of building their own chip. As far as anyone can figure, Apple's A4 is a standard ARM design, with various unnecessary block units removed to further consume power. Regardless of whether or not RIM adopts a similar processor, they don't have one now.

In point of fact, I think Wu's report is pessimistic, but his arguments are neither as illogical nor as biased as you imply.

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