What a difference a few years makes. Today, many are wondering how long Apple can continue to be successful if the next iPhone doesn’t have a display over 3.5 inches. Virtually all smartphones running Google’s Android OS have larger ones than that, some going above 4.5 inches.
And it doesn’t stop there. Samsung and LG are exploring even bigger touchscreens. For example, AT&T is about to release the Samsung Galaxy Note, a hybrid phone/tablet with a 5.3-inch display.
The reason for the rapid increase in screen size: what people are using their phones for has changed dramatically. In the mid-90s and before, these devices were primarily used for voice calls and text messaging. Handsets back them could be tiny, because most people only used the display to read short text messages or see who was calling them.
Today, people use their smartphones to access the Web, play games, watch video, exchange email and texts, and even access Office files. For all these tasks, the bigger the screen the better.
With the steady gain in display size, we’ve given up some portability, but we’ve gained tremendous functionality — and the tradeoff is worth it.
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Every smartphone I know of supports push email, a system in which messages are “pushed” out to your phone as soon as they arrive on the remote mail server. It’s the opposite of pull email, in which you set your phone to check for messages on a regular schedule, or manually ask that they be delivered.
I generally have my devices configured to push both my work and my personal email to me, but I always try to keep aware how much this drains the battery.
With my current smartphone, I have recharge it every day, unless I turn push email off. When I do, it will go for much of a week on a single charge. This is with the device just sitting quietly waiting for me to use it. Naturally, if I’m on the phone a lot or using it to surf the Web, the battery life is much shorter.
A Vacation Tip
The next time you’re on vacation, be sure to turn push email off. For one thing you’re supposed to be relaxing and you can’t do that if you get notified every time you get an email from the office. But switching to manual email delivery will not just help your social life, it can also really save your battery life too.
I tend to forget to plug my phone in when I’m on the beach or some resort because I’m outside of my normal routine. If I have push email turned on, whenever I think about my phone it’s usually dead or close to it if I’ve left push email on. If I’ve switched to manual, it always has a full charge.
Just something to think about next time you’re on the road.