When RIM distributed the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, many recipients noted something peculiar: it featured a non-removable battery. This is quite a departure from previous BlackBerry smartphones. But, since the PlayBook featured a hardwired battery, might the entire RIM line be moving that way? Not so fast. The two mentioned cases are merely exceptions. As Thorsten Heins has mentioned, BlackBerry 10 devices will have removable batteries. That comes as a relief to many. We love the ability to remove batteries. But might we be better off if RIM hardwires the batteries?
The ability to remove our smartphone batteries provides us with a few important features.
- Instant resets
- Rotating multiple batteries
- Replacing low-charge batteries
- Easier use of extended batteries
Yet there is another side to the story. Hardwired batteries provide a longer charge. Since battery life has always been a big part of the BlackBerry charm, it stands to reason that a hardwired battery might benefit their customers. There are also plenty of ways to hard reset a phone without pulling the battery, and the iPhone, which has a hardwired battery, has plenty of extended battery cases. The best part: hardwired batteries tend to last longer than replaceable batteries, meaning there’s less of a need to replace a dead or dying one.
Still, when it comes to smartphones perhaps the familiar is the best route. BlackBerry customers are pretty vocal about their disdain for the iPhone’s hardwired battery, so RIM will do well to keep the replaceable ones around in BlackBerry 10 handsets. It was quite reassuring, from that angle, to hear Heins declare the return of the replaceable battery.
Just don’t expect such a battery to ever power a tablet. The sheer size of a tablet just doesn’t lend itself to a removable battery — the batteries themselves are just too big. Plus, battery life is a bit more difficult to manage on a tablet. And with the Dev Alpha device, that was just something RIM put together for developers. There was no need for a replaceable battery. It was undoubtedly easier to manufacture just by hardwiring the battery along with the rest of the components.
But yes, it’s nice to hear the reassurance about removable batteries. Hardwiring has its benefits for sure, and in many ways we’d be better off. But for BlackBerry 10 its best not to unnecessarily ruffle any feathers.