Smartphones with removable batteries are never coming back

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by scjjtt, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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  2. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    probably right, but hope not....
     
  3. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Sadly, I tend to agree with that article. Years ago the trend was for tiny phones, and that was a major reason for keeping my TX (movies and ebooks). Back then nobody seemed to want a large flat slab of a phone. Now everyone uses them. The current trend is for extremely thin slabs, but this could change too. The problem as I see it is that although battery techology is changing, it's not doing it so fast as power demand from mobile devices increase. This means manufacturers must find other ways to cram larger batteries, such as Apple did with the iPhone X (two cells connected in an L-shape). Interestingly, several of us did the same to our Palm devices ten years ago :D . Even if future devices moved away from the ultra thin trend, other factors will weigh in favor of a non-removable battery, such as quick charge and wireless charging. Another trend seems to be to gradually turn phones into fully sealed blocks without any port openings. I'm not entirely sure I'll want this, but I also think it has the potential for good things, like truly waterproof phones.
     
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  4. EdmundDantes

    EdmundDantes Mobile Deity

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    I don't buy most of those arguments. I'd say the additional cost would make sense instead of the incredibly environmentally wasteful disposing of whole phones when the battery dies. Phone evolution has slowed down somewhat from the breakneck past, and most advances are more stylistic than real advances. I'm not an engineer, but other than the space issue, I'd say one could easily make a premium case with a sealing gasket and screws of some sort (Allen heads, Torx, etc.) that allow you to open the back and replace the battery. And the battery could be a custom shape (to some degree) to efficiently utilize the space. I, and I think others, would gladly sacrifice a bit to have a more environmentally reasonable phone that was also a bit thicker, etc.
     
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  5. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    Moto Z offers an early glimpse at another option compatible with sealed batteries: easily detachable, swappable, and if taken to another level, you might have a tiny battery inside the phone, a couple hundred mah, just enough to allow hotswapping, and then users could choose their own device thickness and battery capacity to attach.
     
  6. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    The problem with screws is that they become loose over time. I work with machines (tiny as well as huge ones) everyday, and one of the major maintenance tasks is ensuring every screw is properly tightened. On a phone it's very hard to ensure screws remain tightened during the device's lifetime. I've seen plenty of screws become loose even with threadlocker applied. A phone is subject to structural stress (torsion such as when in the back pants pockets, shaking, bumps and falls) and this stress will eventually loosen the screws.

    Gaskets are already used on every waterproof phone, although they're mostly used with adhesives, not screws. IMO this is for a very good reason: a gasket must be properly seated and screws evenly tightened for the seal to work. When talking about a device that's about 1cm thick, a gasket will be less than 1mm thick, and properly placing it will surely be hard. If the gasket is just a bit off place then the seal fails. If a screw is overtightened it may break the seal in the opposite corner. Warranty support would be hell if the common users were trusted with doing this properly. OTOH, if a common user can be trusted with installing a gasket and properly tightening screws, then the same user can be trusted to replace the battery in a sealed phone once the original one starts to fail. I've seen battery replacement kits that include a new adhesive gasket and the spudger needed to open the case. What I mean is that IMO changing a non-removable battery in a current device is equally harder (or equally easier) independently of the method used to seal the case (adhesive vs screws).

    Checking my signature, of the ten PDA or smartphone devices I've owned since 1999, only one (LG V-10) has a removable battery. The very first one (Palm Vx) required heat to open the case, so that particular trend is not new at all. Other two newer, waterproof ones (Sony Xperia Z1 and LG G6) are sealed but can be opened with a spudger (I did replace the battery on the Z1 two years ago), although this will destroy the gasket and a new one must be installed in place. The other six devices were held together with screws and plastic locks, but also had a non-removable battery. Still, I've managed to replace the batteries on 4 of them, and I'm confident I'll be able to do the same to my G6 if/when the time comes.
     
  7. EdmundDantes

    EdmundDantes Mobile Deity

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    Everything is obviously a trade-off; but screws are not problematic on many moisture-resistant things. It's a matter of engineering and machining. Yes, it would require a bit more quality, I'd want that anyway. Official outlets like Apple stores and carrier stores could handle the maintenance and even the battery changes.

    I take one watch to a store that has the proper machine to change the battery. We're talking about devices that now cost about $1,000.

    Edit: One other thing: we live in a world where there are multitude of options. Some might want a cheaper, 'one use' phone with a hard-to-replace or non-replaceable battery, and others might want something with more quality and precision (and attendant costs) that requires some maintenance. Both could easily exist at the same time.
     
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