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Old 01-06-2010, 01:20 PM   #1
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Isn't battery life the death knell for the tablet?

I covet electronic gadgets as much as the next guy, but I don't understand this excitement over Microsoft/Apple tablets. For reading, I need to be able to have a charge whenever I might want to read, and the tablet isn't going to give me that. Even if I could ignore the eye strain, the battery seems to be the big issue vis-a-vis the ereader.

What am I missing? I would love to start drooling!
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:29 PM   #2
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Some people don't mind the short battery life. And battery tech is constantly improving; it'll get longer. It's possible it'll get to a point where most electronic devices work like many calculators--a small solar cell might be enough to power the batteries.

But for the next couple of years--tablets are going to be like early laptops: too bulky, too AC-dependent, too complex or limited in software functions to be really useful for anyone except technogeeks. Who will figure out how to exploit them shamelessly, and eventually the best of those uses will trickle down to the rest of us. And the batteries will last longer.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:30 PM   #3
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Tablets will never serve as a main reader device for the avid reader. I'm interested in a tablet, but I'll keep my Kindle for my leisure reading.

A tablet I'd use to read and mark up academic PDFs, use as my PDA for my calendar and contacts (I hate my old Palm Pilot), use it for surfing the web and checking e-mail on the couch (replace the need to buy a small, light personal laptop--all I have now is a heavy 15" Thinkpad from Work, that's bulky and I don't like risking viruses with random surfing).

So for those purposes, I don't care much about battery life. It would mainly be used at home, in the office, in hotel rooms when traveling like my laptop is now. And my laptop is hardly ever unplugged from power. As long as the tablet gets 6 hours or so of battery life, I'd be fine as I could see every using it more than that in a day, and could just charge it at night.

But yeah, these aren't going to replace reader devices, and probably not be super useful for people who don't need them for some work related function.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:33 PM   #4
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Not everybody has the same reading habits or reads the same type of books. Most people here on Mobileread, or the most vocal, seem to like curling up to their favorite fiction genre and enjoy reading long hours.

But that is not for everyone there are many folks that want to read science manuals, text books, non-fiction and would love to have a device that can annotate/highlight have lookup features. Have color and deliver rich media. These tablet devices seem to also have better CPU and can handle more fomats than the traditional eInk Device.

While these devices do eat up batteries rather quickly they offer functionality that current eInk devices cannot deliver.

For some those features are more important than battery life.

Personally I think this is great that as consumers we have more choices and all these different devices fill different needs. In the end we all win since they all will help to move pbooks to ebooks.

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Old 01-06-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
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Why do tablets that don't exist yet need to have such crappy battery life? Perhaps they will (one common design scaleback is the battery), and perhaps they won't. Perhaps some will use energy-conserving transflective displays, and some may use advanced e-papers that are not mainstream at the moment.

Yes, the probability is high that many of the tablets released soon will have real world battery life of less than 10 hours, and most will have simple backlit LCD displays. Such things are not geared to reading really, and in my opinion don't really aspire to do so.

There will however be better tablets, perhaps very soon and perhaps a year or two off, that will transcend some of those more traditional boundaries. That's what many people here are waiting for...not just another standard tablet PC which has been seen before and will be seen again.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by =X= View Post
Not everybody has the same reading habits or reads the same type of books. Most people here on Mobileread, or the most vocal, seem to like curling up to their favorite fiction genre and enjoy reading long hours.

But that is not for everyone there are many folks that want to read science manuals, text books, non-fiction and would love to have a device that can annotate/highlight have lookup features. Have color and deliver rich media. These tablet devices seem to also have better CPU and can handle more fomats than the traditional eInk Device.

While these devices do eat up batteries rather quickly they offer functionality that current eInk devices cannot deliver.

For some those features are more important than battery life.

Personally I think this is great that as consumers we have more choices and all these different devices fill different needs. In the end we all win since they all will help to move pbooks to ebooks.

=X=
Agree 100%. It's my biggest pet peeve with this site, is most people are just novel readers (and avid readers in general) and read for hours on end.

Which is fine--I do that myself sometimes--but not often.

The problem is you get posts like this as people seem to have trouble realizing that not everyone is like them. Ebooks aren't only for the bookworms who read for hours on end nearly every day.

There are others out there that need different types of devices for different types of reading, who need good mark up and highlight option, color screens, large screens, etc. MUCH more than they need long battery life or screens easy on the eyes in 8 hour reading sessions which they never do.

And you're right, it's great that there's room for tons of different types of devices out there so everyone can find the device(s) that fit their needs. I'll keep a small e-ink device like my Kindle around for novel reading, as I don't need anything more complex than that for reading novels. But I need something much more powerful for reading and marking up academic articles, books, text books, student papers, reading magazines and newspapers etc.


I will say, by the same token, the people that are anti e-ink and keep starting threads about the death of e-ink etc. grate on my nerves as well.

There's plenty of room for e-ink dedicated readers, lcd tablets, netbooks, smart phones, pdas etc. out there. The more devices that have access to e-books the better for all e-book lovers as more book sales means more selection, more competition, better prices, more pressure to scrap DRM etc.

I don't see why so many think it's some kind of zero sum end game where either dedicated readers or multifunction tablets or anything else has to win. There's plenty of room for all kinds of devices that serve their own specific niches.

Last edited by dmaul1114; 01-06-2010 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:53 PM   #7
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I don't mind a shorter battery life at all. I read about 2 hours max each time. And even if I read for a longer time, I'm generally close by a wall socket. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the long battery life of my Mini. Each device has its own function. The Mini for hammock reading, hours on end, the JE-100 for bedtime reading.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:01 PM   #8
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Agree 100%. It's my biggest pet peeve with this site, is most people are just novel readers (and avid readers in general) and read for hours on end.

Which is fine--I do that myself sometimes--but not often.

The problem is you get posts like this as people seem to have trouble realizing that not everyone is like them. Ebooks aren't only for the bookworms who read for hours on end nearly every day.

There are others out there that need different types of devices for different types of reading, who need good mark up and highlight option, color screens, large screens, etc. MUCH more than they need long battery life or screens easy on the eyes in 8 hour reading sessions which they never do.

And you're right, it's great that there's room for tons of different types of devices out there so everyone can find the device(s) that fit their needs. I'll keep a small e-ink device like my Kindle around for novel reading, as I don't need anything more complex than that for reading novels. But I need something much more powerful for reading and marking up academic articles, books, text books, student papers, reading magazines and newspapers etc.


I will say, by the same token, the people that are anti e-ink and keep starting threads about the death of e-ink etc. grate on my nerves as well.

There's plenty of room for e-ink dedicated readers, lcd tablets, netbooks, smart phones, pdas etc. out there. The more devices that have access to e-books the better for all e-book lovers as more book sales means more selection, more competition, better prices, more pressure to scrap DRM etc.

I don't see why so many think it's some kind of zero sum end game where either dedicated readers or multifunction tablets or anything else has to win. There's plenty of room for all kinds of devices that serve their own specific niches.
Exactly!! I'm in a whole other niche - I'm an avid reader and read for hours on end - but I have no issues doing it near a wall outlet, or on an LCD screen. My main criteria, (which I've found after owning a dedicated reading device for a year), is format functionality. I don't like doing conversions. I want to be able to choose a file and open it with it's native program without having to jump through the hoops (small though they may be), to convert it. I don't like having to worry about which format(s) I am limited to, I want to be able to read them all. But you said it: It is not, nor will it ever be, a zero sum end game. Everyone's different, everyone has different needs.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:08 PM   #9
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Battery life isn't a big deal for me...but I'm perhaps pretty conditioned by now to always have my devices (phone, notebook, reader, etc.) always charging when I'm not using it, and traveling with all my chargers. My notebook lasts about 4 hours, which I rarely hit, despite using it all over the place, and I think my iPhone ran out only once in 2 1/2 years.

But everyone uses their devices differently-my wife has two iPhone chargers she switches between, and runs them until they all run out (a week or so) then charges them up all at once.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:15 PM   #10
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I think you will quickly see battery life in the 6-10 hour range for the new generation tablets. The new intel low wattage processors, advances in battery technology and advances in screen technology will soon converge. Once the battery life is at that level, and their weight reduced by those same technologys.... they would work for most people. If you read more than 8 hours a day, you really need to give your eyes a rest......

Now, those that do international flights, and other not so "everyday" kind of things still need to extreme battery life of ereaders. I love the battery life of my Sony. But, it really matters little to me if I have to charge it overnight 3 times a week or once a week.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dmaul1114 View Post
It's my biggest pet peeve with this site, is most people are just novel readers (and avid readers in general) and read for hours on end.

Which is fine--I do that myself sometimes--but not often.

The problem is you get posts like this as people seem to have trouble realizing that not everyone is like them. Ebooks aren't only for the bookworms who read for hours on end nearly every day.
Didn't mean to offend. I see the utility for business documents - unfortunately, my large corporation will never (1) spring for a tablet or (2) let us connect to corporate servers with personal equipment. But I like the picture Elfwreck paints!
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:22 PM   #12
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Yes, the probability is high that many of the tablets released soon will have real world battery life of less than 10 hours, and most will have simple backlit LCD displays. Such things are not geared to reading really, and in my opinion don't really aspire to do so.
I'd be perfectly happy with a 10h battery life, personally; that's a full day's reading, or the duration of a trans-atlantic flight. More than enough for me. We obviously all have different requirements in this area.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:25 PM   #13
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Didn't mean to offend. I see the utility for business documents - unfortunately, my large corporation will never (1) spring for a tablet or (2) let us connect to corporate servers with personal equipment. But I like the picture Elfwreck paints!
I didn't mean to jump on you specifically. It's just the back in forth of "Tablets sucks!" and "Tablets will be the death of e-ink" type posts are getting old.

Avid novel readers need to realize there are those of us who need something else for academic pdfs, technical manuals, magazines, newspapers, grading student papers to e-mail back to them, text books etc. etc.

Not to mention that tablets aren't meant to be sole (or even primarily) reading devices. As they can do internet, video, music, games, PDA functions, all kinds of apps etc. So it's silly to read of them soley as a reader--if all you do is read, then a Tablet isn't for you. Even for marking up business or academic documents, something like the Que or Skiff would probably be better if that's all you'd use it for as full fledged multi-media tablets will probably cost more.

But again, on the other hand, those who want tablets need to realize that there's 100% a large market out there for dedicated e-ink (or similar) readers for the avid readers who read a ton and need the screen and battery life etc., and that tablets will in no way, shape or form be the death of e-ink or dedicated reader devices.

It's not an either/or proposition. Everyone has different needs. Some need a tablet, some need an e-ink reader, some need both. For some battery life is a key as they use the device on the go all the time. For others they only use it near outlets and don't care about battery life.

People just need to be more cognizant that their opinion and needs are just that--their own. Everyone has their own opinions and needs in devices and none is more right than anyone else's. Hence why there's plenty of room in the market for a wide array of devices.


As for the cost, my university wouldn't buy me a tablet either likely. They already bought me a desktop for my campus office and a laptop. Maybe I could pay for one with a grant if I could tie a need for it into the research. But it likely will be something I buy on my own. I really need a personal web surfing device as all I have at home now is my work laptop--and I have to be more careful in where I surf and what I download on it as I don't want to lose work files to viruses etc.

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Old 01-06-2010, 02:26 PM   #14
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Tablets will never serve as a main reader device for the avid reader.
Are you presuming to speak for all of us 'avid readers', or did you mean to say "Tablets will never serve as a main reader device for this avid reader"?

Because the sentence as you wrote it is obviously wrong since I many others in this forum have expressed a preference for the tablet form factor and you'll find countless posts from MR members who are currently using a tablet as their main reader device.

So why would you presume to speak for everyone?
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:30 PM   #15
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Are you presuming to speak for all of us 'avid readers', or did you mean to say "Tablets will never serve as a main reader device for this avid reader"?

Because the sentence as you wrote it is obviously wrong since I many others in this forum have expressed a preference for the tablet form factor and you'll find countless posts from MR members who are currently using a tablet as their main reader device.

So why would you presume to speak for everyone?
I didn't really mean the former, as I don't consider myself an avid reader given I read 1-2 books a month tops.

I basically meant that tablets will never serve the needs of the average avid novel/fiction reader to the extent that they will in anyway be a threat to the existence of e-ink (or similar) readers.

For most people who are only reading novels (just text) there's little need to shell out for the added features of a tablet, sacrifice portability and battery life etc.

But sure, some avid readers (especially those reading more than novels) will prefer tablets or smartphones or PDAs etc. Everyone has their own needs, and I was talking in generalities--not meaning to speak for everyone--as I too hate it when people do that.

But in any case, no need to respond so rudely. When reading forums I find it best to just read everything as a person stating their opinion. Most people, myself included, aren't putting much thought into how we phrase things--so stuff that comes across as speaking for everyone is usually a poor choice of phrasing vs. deliberate intent.

We're all here to just share our own opinions. No need to take things so seriously.

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