Could it be that since the battery was invented claims about battery life have been greatly exaggerated?

Robert Conrad used to challenge people to “knock the battery off my shoulder” for Eveready as if to challenge us to even consider thinking the battery wasn’t tough enough for the job.

Truth be told its not the batteries fault.  It just does what it does, but battery life and expectations are often set too high.  This is made even worse when a consumer electronics product designer attempts to estimate and advertise esoteric notions like ‘play time’, and ‘standby time’ and don’t hold your breath waiting for a lot of ‘talk time’.

Battery life is to consumer electronics what EPA miles per gallon is to sticker listings on a new car and don’t worry I’m not going on a rant on new cars just yet.

I just read a review of Microsoft’s new Zune Player reviewed by Walter Mossberg of the WSJ on November 9, 2006, (sec B1,3).  He wrote,

But Battery life on the Zune was very disappointing.  Microsoft Claims 14 hours of music playback on a single charge with the wireless feature turned off . . .

. . . . I got just 12 hours and 18 minutes of music playback, versus 14 hours and 44 minutes from an iPod under the same usage pattern.

He elaborates that Microsoft assesses their number based on a special set of circumstances where the the volume is always at default, the same track repeats endlessly and the backlight time is reduced down to a second.

Who does that?

Who listens to the same track repeating at default volume for 14 hours straight?  Why can’t the consumer electronics manufactures come up with a standard testing system with say 10,000 tracks of songs provided in the same order with the volume level calibrated to a certain level of decibels based on a standardized beep or whistle on the very first track.

Put the tracks out for distribution with manufactures and designers, and give it the Mossberg Audio Test of Playtime Analysis (MATOPA).  A simple standard would then allow us to measure if various devices stand up against each other on the MATOPA scale.  Plus, they should then run say 100 devices in a random sample off the manufacturing line throughout the year to keep their MATOPA rating for truth in advertising.

Pick your device and a similar test could be devised, but do we all really need some absolutely useless and faulty advertising information presented to us in countless reviews websites and product packaging information guides. 

Technorati tags: Broken Technology, Battery Life, Battery Life has no Life and no Truth