Modern mobile devices require a lot of energy to maintain a 4G/LTE data connection, often switching between whichever networks are available in the area. The GPS also drains the battery far more than just about anything else in a mobile device.
We’re increasingly dependent on our devices for what feel like critical functions of modern living. There’s an expectation that we can and should always be connected, as long as our battery is charged and our signal is strong.
I’m reminded of Scott McCloud’s thoughts in Understanding Comics on the extension of the self and how it gets applied to inanimate objects, such as the car we’re driving, a bicycle we’re riding or a keyboard we type on.
The same concept applies even more to mobile devices as they have become always ready extensions of our self expression.
In the context of a car, we rely on these devices for:
- Traveling with the most rapidly updated maps in history
- Voice-over computers guiding us toward our destination and helping us keep our eyes on the road
- Reporting real-time traffic through apps like Waze as a public service to other drivers, hoping our data can be shared and our lost time can be avoided by others before they pass the next exit
- Streaming music, podcasts or audiobooks over the 21st century data airwaves
- Talking and texting others so we don’t feel alone, even if we shouldn’t (Lots of drivers do it at red lights, especially)
We rely on our car batteries to support our device needs by consuming more energy than we ever have.
It would be interesting to see research to determine if batteries are keeping up with the increased demands being placed on them from more electronics.
As more electronics are integrated into automobiles, how much of the cost of battery replacement are we feeling?
Are we seeing faster battery replacements in cars since the mobile technology boom?