My good friend Ben over at UMPCPortal tagged me to answer his hypothetical questions about all-day battery life and mobile tech gadgets.
If batteries were able to provide enough power for 24 hours of continuous use, regardless of task, on a single charge, he asked, how would your current computing habits change? With this battery life in mind, he added, what do you think gadgets will be like two years down the road?
As my UMPC preferences have shown, battery life isn't a sticking point for me. It probably should be but because I'm an anti-mobile user of portable tech, it isn't. So the only thing an all-day battery would really do for me is allow me to charge it less! How original. Many DAPs and PMPs already have batteries that last for 24+ hours, so having the same kind of runtime on a UMPC, MID, or smartphone would simply increase the amount of time that I can let pass between uses (a lot of my stuff sits around unused for days/weeks at a time) without having to plug it in. I suppose I would also see a marginal decrease in my electricity bill, but alll the extra runtime wouldn't change the way I use my devices or my computing habits.
I've never not brought something along when I left the house just because the battery life was poor. The reason I usually go out with nothing but a cell phone in the first place is that I spend so much time being connected at home that when I'm not at home, I want to be unconnected. Unless I'm out alone, I don't need to read email, check tech sites, update Twitter, or send someone a text message. If I'm out with someone, that person should get my full attention. Otherwise, I may as well be behind a computer screen at home.
All-day battery life would certainly be useful when traveling, though there aren't too many places I would be that wouldn't have a power outlet nearby (I'm not outdoorsy).
As for what I think mobile devices would evolve into as a direct result of this battery life? Nothing out of line with the natural evolution of portable gadgets, really. Even without extra long battery life, manufacturers will still continue to stuff more power into smaller devices. I don't think the physical size of a battery is a designer's biggest challenge. Right now, it's the size of the processor and internal memory that are really dictating product design. Depending on the type of device, keyboard and screen size also come into play.
My short answers, then, are: 1) my computing habits wouldn't change at all and 2) gadgets wouldn't evolve any differently than they would without all-day battery life.
What do you guys think?