The Android Metric I Want to See: Minutes of Usage Per Day vs Minutes Connected to Outlet Power

Moto X Dev Edition GSM

One of the things I noticed in several homes and offices to which I recently traveled is that many Android users seem to connect their devices to power outlets at every opportunity. I saw this usage pattern a few days ago in connection with a Moto X that was recently purchased by a very experienced smartphone user who was quite proud of his new phone. He took it off his charging cable and handed it to me. Then when I had looked it over and said I thought it was great looking, he quickly reconnected it to his charging cable.

I handed him my iPhone 5s for a similar quick look at the same time. He didn't even look at it before handing it back to me. This initially made me wonder if I had forgotten to unlock it. I know he doesn't really like Apple products, so his quick return of my phone without a real look was probably a way to try to avoid being impolite to me.

Because I was in another person's home, my 5s had not had access to a charger for some time, and it would not for three or four more hours. I don't worry about draining the battery in such a short period of time, but maybe Android users do, even when they have state-of-the-art hardware and fully updated operating systems.

Back in October, I read that Android phones like the Moto X were more innovative than the iPhone 5s. In that article, ABI Research Vice President of engineering Jim Mielke said, "Features like always-on voice commands typically would draw too much current to be practical, but the Moto X accomplishes the task with 4.5mA allowing the phone to maintain over 200hrs of standby time. The display is a bigger surprise though--the Moto X display draws 68mA at low output levels and only 92mA at high output levels, making it a new standard for high output level current drain."

If a real-world user truly can get 200 hours of standby time, should there be any rush to re-connect the Moto X to power?

This made me think, maybe you can't do as much with an Android phone as analysts previously said, because battery drain in the real world is somehow different from what people estimated in labs. For this reason, I wonder what the real battery-life performance of newer Android phones is under Jelly Bean and KitKat?

FWIW, common Moto X battery consumption problems are discussed on DigitalTrends.com and a number of other sites. Moto X Developer Edition photo, published in You Asked, We Listened: Announcing Changes to Our Developer Edition Program, on The Official Motorola Blog, November 21, 2013.