Batteries are everywhere in the modern world. I have two of them living inside important electronic devices that I’m touching right now.
The most popular battery type in today’s consumer electronics is the Lithium Ion battery. They’re decently efficient, recharge quickly, and don’t have the memory issues that some other batteries have… meaning that they’re easy for people to use.
However, like all rechargeable batteries…they eventually start to wear out. The amount and the speed of the wear differs from battery to battery.
Most of them are guaranteed to work well for at least 500 full charge cycles. That means you can use 100 percentage points of your battery 500 times.
And then it starts to lose capacity. Sometimes very quickly.
I hate this.
I know it’s a product of physics. I know that there’s nothing we can do about it right now, probably. But it means that every portable technology product you buy has a limited lifespan.
As if the constant march of tech wasn’t enough.
Your battery will die, and it will happen right about when the new version of the thing you bought comes out.
Now, there’s an easy way around this: Make the battery user-replacable!
But more and more companies aren’t doing this. They seal that battery away behind a shiny aluminum case and hope you’ll forget they did it.
Sometimes they’ll offer you a paid replacement service if you send your device to them…but they’re hoping that this costs just enough and is just annoying enough that you’ll go buy the new model instead.
At least you can sometimes trade your device in to defray the cost of the new one.
I think portable technology is great. It’s never been better. I love portable game consoles, high-end phones, and laptops. But I can’t ever shake the nagging feeling, every time I buy a new device, that it will only peform at its absolute best the very first day I take it out of the box.
And that after a year and a half or so, it will slowly die.
I wrote this because my phone battery is going through a rough time and I’m engaged in the nightmare process of trying to decide what new phone to buy. I thought about getting one with a replacable battery…but how do I know they’ll even still make those batteries two years from now?
And wouldn’t I just like to buy a new one by then?
Gah. I don’t know any more.