Last week we wrote about Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu who was making the claim that the PlayBook’s battery life was under-performing, and that RIM would delay the launch of the PlayBook in order to find an adequate solution. RIM responded to the claim saying that “Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented.” Recently, Shaw Wu reiterated the claim saying he would be “very surprised if PlayBook matches anywhere near the battery life of the iPad at 10 hours unless it uses a larger battery.”
One of the main reasons the PlayBook could face battery life issues is the incorporation of Flash in the platform. Here is how Shaw Wu breaks down the three main areas where battery life can be negatively impacted:
1. The PlayBook supports Flash, and Flash is a resource hog. Says Wu, “As seen in recent tests for the new MacBook Air, use of Flash can cut battery life in half….From our understanding, the poor battery life of early PlayBook units may be due to its incorporation of Adobe Flash.”
2. QNX, the operating system on which PlayBook is to run, wasn’t designed for it. It was intended for devices drawing power from a wall socket or car battery, not mobile platforms whose power sources are necessarily limited by their own mobility.
3. RIM’s implementation of power management is not as well-integrated as that of its rivals–particularly Apple, whose homegrown A4 system-on-chip enables the company to deliver superior battery life.
RIM has already gone on record saying that the device has not yet been optimized for battery life but they are on track to deliver a tablet that “offers superior performance with comparable battery life.” Perhaps Adobe should weigh in on this discussion and speak to the accusations that their product is a “resource hog”.