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The smartphone spec that matters most

Published May 21st, 2014 1:50PM EDT
Best Smartphone Battery Life

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It’s getting much harder for smartphone companies to really differentiate their products, especially if they don’t already have a loyal user base like the ones Apple and Samsung enjoy. In various marketing campaigns, HTC has tried pushing the high quality of its smartphones’ hardware, Nokia has tried selling us on its killer camera and LG has tried hyping up buttons that live on the back, and not the front, of the smartphone. However, there’s one spec that matters to users more than any other than many smartphone vendors have seemingly overlooked in their ad campaigns: Battery life.

The Guardian directs our attention to a new survey from U.K.-based research firm GMI that asked British smartphone users what features were important to them when it comes to deciding on a new smartphone. Fully 89% of them said that battery life was important to them, more than 20 percentage points higher than the number of people who said buying from a trusted brand was important to them. This suggests that there’s a significant chunk of smartphone buyers out there who might conceivably jump at a phone from a relatively unknown vendor if it could give them top-notch battery life.

This new research gels with research released by IDC earlier this month that similarly showed that battery life has become the single most important factor for people who are buying smartphones. In that survey, 56% of Android buyers, 49% of iPhone buyers and 53% of Windows Phone buyers said that battery life was a key reason they bought their particular device, whereas just which 33% of Android users, 39% of iPhone users and 38% of Windows Phone users said ease of use was a key reason.

So here’s a free piece of advice to any smartphone vendor that’s struggling to gain traction in a market that’s dominated by Apple and Samsung: Develop a phone of reasonable thinness that also boasts insanely great battery life and market its battery power to death.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.