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Is an Email Application the Culprit in Centro Battery Life Problems?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 - 2:37 PM EST - By Jennifer Chappell


Update: I just want to clarify that Sprint has already developed the new software client as of December 4th that is being pushed to all Sprint Mobile Email customers using devices manufactured by Palm (including Treo 650p, 700p, 755p, and Centro).

I apologize for overlooking that date and making it sound as if Sprint hadn't come up with the answer as of yet. They have as seen below:

From Sprint via their Buzz Forums:

Upon logging into Sprint Mobile Email, customers will receive a pop-up message that a new version of the Sprint Mobile Email client is available for download over-the-air, directly from the handset. Customers may opt to either accept the new client or to decline and download at a later time. Please note that customers opting to download the client at a later date will continue to receive pop-up messages for an additional five days. After five days users will be informed that a new client is available and they will no longer be given a choice to download at a later date.
Customers should be assured that this is not a device issue and that the updated software for the email application will resolve this issue so that they can resume use of Sprint Mobile Email with a premium customer experience.
Customers who have deleted the Sprint Mobile Email client from their device will be able to download the updated client from the �Downloads� site accessible in the main menu of the Palm Centro.
All Sprint customers using Sprint Mobile Email on a device manufactured by Palm (Treo 650p, 700p, 755p, and Centro) are being asked to accept this download to ensure their device performs at optimum levels. Sprint regrets any inconvenience customers have faced with this situation and we would like to extend our thanks for their patience as we worked to deliver a resolution.

I just read an interesting article over at InformationWeek about the problems with the Palm Centro battery life. There are threads over in the TreoCentral Centro forums about the Centro's poor battery life.

Forum member snovvman started a thread back in October about the irregular battery drain on the Centro:

  • Phone not activated, no data or phone calls (therefore no push email)
  • Good signal strength.
  • A few, popular apps, nothing running in the background that I know of.
  • IR off, BT on (not visible, not connected), phone radio on.
  • After a full charge and fresh soft reset:
I noticed that the battery went from 100% to 60% in less than five hours. The only thing that I did during this period was turn on the device a few times to check the battery drain.
This was today. Other times, the Centro's battery seems to last longer, even with use.
I started a thread in the PalmOS forum looking for a "task manager" or monitor to see what applications are running or taking CPU time. I'm curious about what is actually chewing the battery and why only during certain times.

Forum member Major Gadget started a thread last month:

I am pretty disappointed with the battery life of the Centro. Prior to the Centro, I used a TX. Now, I realize with the added cell phone features, the battery life of the Centro would be shorter, but I can barely make it through the day without recharging. And I am talking about not more than 15 minutes of talk time, maybe 5-10 minutes on the web, but heavily PDA usage (constant data input into Memo, Tasks, Schedule, Handbase, etc.).

Forum member justrick stated:

I'm not sure what's going on, but for the last two days in a row I've awakened to a dead Centro. I charged the battery to full before going to bed, and when I woke up the battery was completely drained. And the second time, the phone was off.

Forum member and WMExperts writer Malatesta says that he has good battery life on the Centro. He runs Chatter with sms-triggered Push. Malatesta says that the sms-triggered email saves battery, plus he uses PowerHero to auto-disconnect the internet after 5 minutes. Dieter and Mike talk about this in today's TreoCast.

Then Malatesta posted a note from Sprint that says in part:

Sprint is aware that some customers using Sprint Mobile Email are experiencing above-average battery consumption while using the application on the Palm Centro. The cause of this issue is linked to the Sprint Mobile Email software client and email synchronization issues that only occur when a customer�s password is set incorrectly or the ISP email server is unavailable.

And the InformationWeek article talks about the culprit also being the Sprint Mobile Email software. Sprint and its email technology partner, Seven, are working on a software patch to fix the problem and Sprint hopes to have an over-the-air download available by the middle of the month. Sprint also recommends that users experiencing the problem uninstall the Seven email app and use Palm's Versamail program instead.

InformationWeek writer Eric Zeman says:

Having troubles out of the gate is never a good thing for a brand new piece of hardware. As it turns out, the new Palm Centro is causing user dismay in the form of really, *really* bad battery life. We're talking just several hours. That's like the battery life of a typical 1988 phone, not a 2007 phone.

Zeman also compares buying new devices with buying new cars and says that it's generally not advised to be the first to buy brand new models because the manufacturer probably hasn't worked out all the bugs yet. Well isn't that the truth? How many of us Palm device owners have been the first ones to buy the newest device only to find that we need updates right out of the gate for the device to work correctly? And of course that goes for many other branded devices as well, not just Palm. It's nothing new and is pretty much just a "given" when you buy a new device. Many times we early adopters laugh about it and refer to ourselves as beta testers.

I'm glad to know that Sprint has the answer and that the Centro's battery life will improve after users uninstall the Seven email application. And if that isn't the culprit of the poor battery life, I hope that someone will figure it out and get it fixed soon.

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