BlackBerry PlayBook Battery Life Weakened By Recent OS Update?

May 18, 2011
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RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook has hit a few bumps in the road since its launch with firmware complaints to a recent bizarre recall of 1,000 units. Nonetheless, the Playbook had reportedly sold 50,000 units on its first day and still has many fans of the moleskin-inspired tablet. However, a new problem has cropped up now involving a recent update and battery life issues.

Earlier this month, a new OS update 1.0.3.1868 was pushed out to users that added a new PlayBook video chat app as well as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) via the BlackBerry Bridge app. Soon after the update, many users started experiencing a noticeable decrease in their tablet's battery life.

RIM has responded swiftly to these complaints suggesting users to completely discharge their batteries and then fully recharge them again. And to do this a couple times, which is a process known as "cycling" a battery. They've also advised users to accept the terms of the Video Chat licensing agreement prompt, as the prompt, if left unchecked, could drain the battery.

If you own a BlackBerry PlayBook, have you experienced any of these issues after the update?

The message from RIM:

"After upgrading the BlackBerry PlayBook Software to 1.0.3 then restarting the BlackBerry PlayBook, the battery drains faster than normal or the battery level fluctuates irregularly...The BlackBerry PlayBook battery can be retrained by fully discharging and fully recharging the battery a few times."

RIM suggested in the advisory that the PlayBook battery issues could be a result of a Video Chat licensing agreement prompt that may be draining power until a user accepts the licensing terms. So accepting those video chat terms could resolve some battery life problems, RIM says, though I accepted the terms immediately after installing the latest OS update, and my PlayBook battery issues don't appear to be related to the video chat agreement. (I guess users who do not wish to accept those terms are stuck with decreased battery life for the time being.)

I also cycled my PlayBook battery a number of times since, with no notable improvement in battery life. More specifically, I used to easily get 9 hours or more of PlayBook battery life with moderate to heavy use before I updated the Tablet OS to v1.0.3.1868. But this week my PlayBook died twice in a row in less than eight hours, after being fully charged at the start of the day.

After doing some investigating on the subject and speaking with a few respected colleagues from BlackBerry fan site CrackBerry.com (thanks @obigeorge and @azeis), I learned that many PlayBook users are reporting decreased PlayBook battery life after the OS update. But some PlayBook users with higher tablet-storage capacity mysteriously seem to get much more battery life on a single charge than 16GB PlayBook tablet owners. (The PlayBook is currently available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, and all three PlayBooks pack the same 5300mAh battery.)

[via CIO]


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