Will the Palm Pre battery life suck?


palm-pre-browser2The Palm Pre is the smartphone that has the attention of many who follow the phone game and with good reason.  It is Palm’s attempt to reinvent themselves and the phone certainly breaks new ground based on what Palm showed in Las Vegas earlier this year.

We have been impressed with the speed that the Pre makes things happen compared to other smartphones, something that the super fast TI OMAP3430 processor that Palm is using helps happen.  This processor is extremely powerful for a phone and I’ve seen it compared to the Intel Atom.

Ars Technica believes this processor is a big deal too and point out that this powerful processor may extract a toll in the battery life of the Pre.  While this is certainly true I think it’s a bit early to be concerned about poor battery life of the Pre.  Let’s get it to market first and then see how it performs. The Ars article gives a great overview of this TI processor and is worth a read to see just how powerful this thing is for a smartphone.

One other factor that may play a role in this is the small size of the Pre.  There’s not much room to put a very big battery in there so we’ll just have to see.  Of course poor battery life would give users a good excuse to play with that cool wireless charger.  :)



The palm pre itself sucks! It freezes up quite often. Randomly it doesn’t charge at all on the charger. Right now, mine is having this error where the volume won’t stay up, it goes down by itself? I dont understand how. Like, I actually will turn it up and watch the volume bars go down. The palm does not have a camcorder! And you dont have very many options to do with your pictures like other phones have. You can not forward messages. I think that they could’ve done better with this phone, and it is very frustrating.

Dr Dimento

I’m a cell phone user big time and run my business on it. Previously I had (still have it in the box) a Palm Centro and I’m giving the Palm Pre two more days and if I haven’t changed my mind, I’m taking it back. The battery life is horrible in my personal opinion. I have yet to make it through one whole day without a battery charge AND my total talk time wasn’t even an hour. My Centro is barely slower (other than internet where it really sucks) BUT I can talk for hours, use the scheduler for hours, and I have gone two days before charge if less activity . . even three. Moreover, the Pre lags too much for me. I just wished the Centro’s screen was just a little bigger AND that it would hang up calls after they are done faster than 10 to 12 seconds PLUS I really miss not having the ability to schedule on my laptop and thus HAVE to use the phone only :o(


I bought the last Palm Pre in a RadioShack on a whim 2 days ago (PS, if you buy it at Radioshack there is no mailin rebate, its $199 out the door). The graphics are great, it has a lot of potential for great applications (limited as of now of course), but the battery life is absolutely terrible.

I had the phone on all day yesterday, I left the house around 7 AM and the battery was completely drained by 6 PM. I was out on a boat all day, so usage was really not too much of an issue, and it was off the coast of Palm Beach, so the device was not struggling for signal.

I have been spoiled by my Samsung Blackjack which came with two batteries, both a thicker high yield battery and a thin one which yielded 4 and 2 days of relatively heavy use respectively.

With the Pre, I’m thinking I might have to dash mount a touchstone in my car so that I can charge it while I drive, which would actually be nice for the GPS feature as well if it holds tight enough.


i watched a 25 minute demo on the pre and the guy was only using it for 20 minutes in which he did some light multitasking and berally any web browsing. the battery went from full to about 3/4 in only 20 minutes! and im not exaggerating. i can imagine with heavy web browsing and multiple applications running the pre won’t last an hour with its small 1150mAh


It is true the CPU inside the Pre has the best power management, a Palm official said the Pre is the closest thing to a Laptop. The webOS and the power management were the reason that comment was made. As for the Treo ‘sized’ battery, it is true as well that the battery will be the same physical size as the battery inside the Treo. However, it will be at least 1500mAh.

Palm said they made the Pre with the idea the user will have a desktop type experience, not a smartphone. The Pre will not be called a smartphone nor will it be marketed as such.

WebOS and the Pre have been in development for two years, One of the key investors from Innovation Partners mentions this in a video interview. I am sure all the kinks have been worked out.


How do you post under the tag “informed” when you are not at all “informed.”

The Pre battery is 1150, so your at least 1500 is way off.

The CPU is not known for good power management and multitasking and Pre’s dependence on the net net are sure to make this a battery hog.

Web OS and Pre have not been in development two years, it is more like one year.


I think once you go for the business market battery life is a very serious issue. I don’t want to be looking down at my handset at 4:30 and seeing 25% when I have another couple of hours of meetings and follow up calls.

Yes you can charge your phone nightly but Palms latest with this 1100 Centro battery, the Treo 800, got howling rebukes from business users because people had trouble getting halfway through the day even with a nightly charge.

The efficiency of the processor is a minuscule part of battery draw. The voice and data radios, that nice screen, wifi, bluetooth, gps, are not going to better because of the processor. The Pre is going to be more dependent on the cloud than other devices and stumbling on battery capacity will be big mistake for Palm.

I am still trying to wrap my head around the decision to leave off swap able and expandable memory. It will be hard enough for business users to get get a new operating system past IT vetting.

Robert Kawaratani

Keyword YMMV

Another factor in addition to the others mentioned in this thread is how much reading is done with the phone. I do alot of reading with the newsreaders on my phones and one hour of that will put a big dent in battery life. In order to make it through the day with my WM phone, I had to recharge it at the office or with an external battery pack.


“…this powerful processor may extract a toll in the battery life of the Pre. While this is certainly true I think it’s a bit early to be concerned about poor battery life of the Pre. Let’s get it to market first and then see how it performs…”

Surely you jest? There’s already concerns about the battery life on the Pre and your suggestion is to wait to see how bad it is *after it goes to market*?

With a fan base whose faith in the Company has been seriously eroded by years of neglect and indifference by Palm, the Pre must come to the market as close to a near-flawless device as they can manage. They have no wiggle room here. To release a smartphone with a power source that is already suspect and may not handle the task could prove to be the last nail in the coffin.

And no consumer, regardless of device used, likes to find they’re the guinea pig to a product that is supposed to be ready for retail. Macoyltes, of course, are the exception here – they’ll buy any old crap from them: it may not work as advertised, but it sure looks cool and eventually someone will file a class action suit forcing a partial repair / apology….

Palm hasn’t that luxury.

John in Norway

I can’t wait for the day when I can just put my phone (and my OQO) down on my bedside table when I lay me down to sleep and they’re both all charged and ready to go in the morning. Unfortunately, due to a snoring other half, I’m never charged or ready to go in the morning unless I get up in the middle of the night and go and sleep with the dog – it is sharing Sunday, isn’t it?


Since the Pre is engineered by the same developers who brought us the Apple iPhone and Danger Hiptop (aka SideKick) this is easily the closest phone to beating Apple’s awesome phone.
Maybe too close, it is possible Apple will object to their gesture-based interface, which Apple holds the patent too. I don’t think the battery life will be an issue in the long run.

Hostgator Reseller

Not sure what’s wrong with charging your smartphone nightly. I don’t think it’s that inconvenient, especially if you just have to set it down on something instead of fiddling around with wires. I mean…I set down my phone on the counter every night anyway. I can just as easily set it down on its charger.


With the current energy crisis, power consumption should be higher on the agenda. If there is one way to conserve energy aswell, it is to standardize the battery, the charger (plug), plus it is time to bundle the best of all smartphones into one. This will reduce R&D expenditures of existing technologies and unnecessary double research and save energy as well.

The are currently many great smartphones. It is remarkable that the best features that one actually wants, appear to be incorporated into different phones. Each phone itself is therefore great, but after a while it seems just that one little bit is missing, apprently on another brand. Time to put heads together.

I never understood that each brand had to have their own connectors. therefore one needs to use a seperate charger and seperate equipment compatible for the connection. Let us be realistic and stay with a standard. This is also frustrating about the upcoming USB 3. The connector is yet again slightly different. Yippie for better and perhaps more efficient speeds, but this will inevitably create more computer (toxic) waste, as consumers will want to replace their existing connections.

Kevin White

I have a feeling that the Pre is going to be like the Foleo. Remember how Palm acted like the Foleo was ready right now, when it turned out it wasn’t really ready, hence their ability to cancel it when the outcry over it reached epic proportions?

All of a sudden, we’re going to find out that the Pre was basically just a concept device and that Palm isn’t going to have it out until next year, or they’re going to drop it and throw in the towel.

Or I’m wrong. I’m just some guy.


Based on my experience with Treo’s the battery life won’t suck but will be mediocre compared to Blackberries and iPhones. I think I have heard a 1100 mAh battery, so at least it will be replaceable and some company will probably come out with an extended life stick-out battery.

One of the big trade-offs with a removable battery is that you waste space in the handset compensating for the removable batter and thus you can’t fit as big of a battery in, or you have a thicker handset.

If you think palm is going to have some perfectly tweaked OS that has a great battery life consider that Apple has probably been working on the battery life of the iPhone for at least 2 years of release and probably 2-3 years pre-release. The iPhone battery life is good for a smartphone, but it’s taken a lot of trade-offs and tweaking by apple to get there (and if you have every owned a smartphone, you have to charge it at the end of the day, this is a fact of life).

And once you get a few mis-behaving background apps that fire up the radio every 15 minutes, you can expect abysmal battery life unless Palm enforces some sort of QC on background access to the internet. If you have owned a WinMo phone and had an app like this you know what I am talking about.


Oh, and the battery is known to be Centro sized, so unfortunately it’ll be around 1200mAh, which is pretty disappointing.

We’ll have to see what the actual battery life is when they release more details though.


I’ve said this other places, but here’s my opinion of it.

I agree with most of the article, especially the parts about the radios and the screen being the largest power draw.

The problem is that he’s clearly trying to write with a slightly negative slant in this article to try and balance out the coverage. He neglects to mention that the OMAP3 chipsets have the most advanced power management architecture of any ARM chip (only a passing reference to CPU power management at all).

Not to mention when he talks about applications on WebOS being an issue because of the WebKit interpreter, because nobody has seen the SDK, we don’t even know if there will be some sort of compiler so that won’t be necessary. Even if it is, he could just as easily bring up how horrible the old Garnet is with power management (a static clock speed, for one) and how the new Linux based system along with this chip’s power management itself allow for dynamic underclocking.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that Synergy itself and making lots of internet connections will be a huge power drain, but it would’ve been just as easy to mention the power management benefits of a very advanced chipset and new operating system based on Linux as well.

Comments are closed.