Smartphone apps are the final culprit in our rogues' gallery of smartphone battery killers (with the physical limits of batteries ranking as the first culprit). An app's power usage is one of the things Apple examines when deciding whether to approve an app for sale at the App Store. "[Apple] wouldn't let you intentionally ruin battery life, like if you were running a game that didn't require GPS, they would reject the app if it was pinging a GPS signal every 10 seconds," says Cameron Vanga, a developer with iPhone app maker 9magnets.
Though the Android app market might harbor a larger number of potential power-sucking apps, more-established developers usually make an effort not to use more battery life than they need to get the app to function properly, for fear of receiving low ratings or having users delete the app. "Beyond maybe GPS applications, most users are good at correlating which apps are going to kill battery," Vanga notes.
Most smartphone users are okay with taking their phones out for the day and then plugging them in to a charger each night, but battery makers are going to have to step up soon to deal with the voracious appetites of the miniature computers that everyone is relying on more and more every day. If innovation in battery technology doesn't pick it up a little, the breakneck speed at which mobile tech innovation has been racing along could come crashing to a halt against a usability wall.