Are Manufactures Deliberately Mis-Representing Battery Life on Android Phones?


Some newer Android-powered phones (such as the Samsung Galaxy S, i9000, Captivate, Vibrant, Fascinate, and Epic 4G) don’t seem to be reporting the battery state-of-charge (SOC) accurately in the notification bar. This can lead to unexpectedly premature power-down.

The Android OS, however, seems to be correctly reporting the remaining battery power, which leads me to believe that the battery-life icon in the notification bar is being optimistic at best, and may be deliberately mis-representing the remaining battery life.

In this video I’ll show you just what I mean using a widget called Quick Battery.

As I mentioned in the video, as ironic as it sounds, many battery monitoring apps and widgets actually drain the battery at an alarming rate! This widget, and others, use Android’s built-in battery-life-indicator to report the OS’s estimate of battery life, rather than using some potentially arbitrary algorithm or reporting mechanism.

I mentioned Samsung’s latest phones specifically because, based on my own experience and that of those I’ve talked with, they all seem to be “overly optimistic” when representing the remaining battery life in the notification bar.

What do you think?

Is this simply an iconical anomaly? Or are manufacturers deliberately mis-representing battery life in the notification bar?

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.