After three days of CES your head starts to spin with all the products. But the noise can help you focus on what is actually a good product or idea.
Among the topics I'm tracking is MOBILE. I'm asking the question of how the powerful computers that are part of our mobile phones change our lives.
Since departing my home to travel to CES, I've used my iPhone and Blackberry (yes, I carry both sometimes) for quite a lot: e-mail, text, phone calls, Twitter, web searches, mapping, CES mobile app, airline ticket search, photos, video, Yelp searching for reviews, gaming and more. It has made my life, work and travel a lot easier and more interesting.
I was able to do all of that because of the powerful phone and apps--no doubt about it. But two weeks ago I wouldn't have dared because my phone's battery would've died. It's the unfortunate truth that the batteries in our mobile devices aren't up to snuff for the most rugged users like myself. (Interestingly, I met a blogger who told me that the nickel-cadmium cartels are keeping new batteries from coming to market. Unconfirmed.)
The effect of the weak batteries is that we often don't use our phones to their potential--even if we make this choice subconsciously.
So it wasn't a surprise when I told friends that I was headed to CES they'd inevitably joke, "find something that can fix my phone battery." As it turns out, I already had the solution but I didn't know how good it was until I had to travel to Las Vegas.
My Mom got me a Mophie Juice Pack Air for Christmas. The Mophie is a rechargeable battery case for the iPhone. It snaps onto my iPhone and charges the phone when power is low. (I even use my SOLIO solar charger to juice up the Mophie.)
My Mophie has saved me from ever having to plug in my iPhone during the busy day. I could go all day long using my phone every 5-6 minutes and never have to recharge. I used my phone more, I bought more apps. The lesson was simple: by solving the battery life problem, technology was changing my life again.
The battery life flaw is probably keeping many people from using the full potential of their mobile phones. I suspect we'd see advances in the application marketplace if people had better battery life for their powerful phones. There are actually advice columns about how to save battery life by doing less with your iPhone.
With the news this week about the Google phone and new phones from other carriers, I thought I'd be writing about some more complicated development in the MOBILE space. But instead, the extended battery life provided by the Mophie has allowed me to really use my iPhone. That's already changed my life. (The other mobile development I think is note-worthy is the faster WIMAX speeds that are on the way and portable hubs.)
In fairness to other companies, there are other manufacturers of rechargeable battery cases. I discovered on the CES floor that the company Powermat, maker of wireless phone chargers, has their own recharging case coming out in 2010--with the added benefit of their wireless charging systems. And I can't say that there is something particular about Mophie over other companies--at least not that I know of. Mophie is a pricey accessory at around $79 but it is worth every penny.
A rechargeable battery case can change your life by giving your more of the benefits of your mobile phone (at least until we can beat the Big Battery cartels and get better batteries built in). It gets my award for the most important change in mobile technology. Sometimes simple technology makes a big difference.