I’m going to miss removable batteries

Sections: Cellphones, Communications, Gadgets / Other, Mobile Computers, Smartphones

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HTC Desire and Battery. credit: Sertion

The Nexus 4 announcement disappointed me. No, it wasn’t the lack of LTE. No, it wasn’t T Mobile exclusivity either. While they are certainly among the worst first world problems ever listed, they didn’t phase me too much. What bothered me most about the Nexus 4 was the lack of a removable battery.

Removable batteries allow you to prolong your devices’ usability.  When the lithium-ion battery gets worn, you can buy a new battery and go about your business.  If you have a non-removable battery you are likely get a new device. It’s an expiration date. Device obsolescence at its best.

I bought a new battery for my aging MacBook in 2009.  The battery cost me in the neighborhood of twenty dollars (if I recall correctly).  What would I do with a newer MacBook with the non-removable battery? Pay over one hundred dollars for a replacement? I can replace a removable battery a few times for that cost. I was a student at the time.  For a poor college student, one-hundred dollars is a big deal.

The two-year update cycle for cellular devices makes this a moot point for some.  Others like to keep their older phones.  I, for example, have an HTC Incredible 2 as a backup phone. Hypothetically, I should be able to keep it as a backup phone forever.

Don’t let the subsidized pricing fool you. Cell phones are expensive devices.  I encourage users to keep their phones as long as they can. Donating or selling is also an option.  Non removable batteries will make cell phones reusable only for extreme diy-ers or those who don’t mind paying for an expensive swap.  The abundance of cell phones will have few people going the extra mile when they can buy a subsidized replacement.

Android phones were known for their removable batteries.  With the Nexus 4 having a non-removable unit, does this speak to the greater mobile device industry?  I certainly hope not.

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