BlackBerry PlayBook Battery Tips: How to Make Your Tablet Last Longer

A recent BlackBerry PlayBook OS update has weakened overall tablet battery life for many RIM PlayBook owners. Here are six quick and easy PlayBook battery tips and tricks to help counteract the update's negative effects and boost your tablet's battery life.

Thu, May 26, 2011

CIO — When I first started using my BlackBerry PlayBook tablet about a month ago, I was impressed that I could get through nearly an entire day of moderate-to-heavy use--non-stop e-mail and messaging, frequent browsing and checking my social networks, along with the occasional streamed video or audio track.

BlackBerry PlayBook with Battery Life Indicator
BlackBerry PlayBook with Battery Life Indicator

But today, my PlayBook battery has significantly less life per charge, and that seems to be largely due to RIM's latest BlackBerry PlayBook OS update. (RIM has acknowledged that PlayBook OS v1.0.3.1868, the most recently released PlayBook OS, can cause users to experience a substantial drop in battery life than previous OS builds. Read more details here.)

Until RIM releases an updated PlayBook OS to address the weakened battery life in the latest tablet software, PlayBook owners experiencing battery issues will mostly just have to deal with less overall tablet life.

Thankfully, a number of measures exist that you can take to help boost your overall PlayBook battery life. Even if you're among the lucky few owning a PlayBook not exhibiting any negative affects from the latest PlayBook OS, the following battery tips and tricks can still help you get more life out of your tablet.

(Also check out my other recent PlayBook tips for all RIM tablet users, along with this list of PlayBook security best practices. And if it's PlayBook apps you seek, I've got you covered there, as well. Read "10 Must-Have Downloads for All PlayBook Users," and "8 More Great PlayBook Apps--All Free."

Disable PlayBook Wireless Radios When Not In Use

Though the initial version of RIM's PlayBook is Wi-Fi only, meaning it does not currently pack a cellular radio, the tablet does have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. One of the simplest ways to conserve PlayBook battery is by turning off these radios when they're not in use.

Unfortunately, you'll need to leave Bluetooth enabled at all times if you wish to access your BlackBerry e-mail and PIM applications via your BlackBerry smartphone and the BlackBerry Bridge application. (Read more about BlackBerry Bridge here.)

However, you can save battery life by disabling Bluetooth when you don't need access to your BlackBerry e-mail, calendar, contacts etc. And RIM has promised native e-mail and PIM apps for the PlayBook some time this summer, so it shouldn't be too long before you can access these apps without the need for an active Bluetooth connection--assuming your BlackBerry administrator chooses not to continue using Bridge, which can provide an added layer of security, since no BES information is ever stored on a PlayBook that uses Bridge for access to BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) data.

To disable PlayBook Wi-Fi, simply click the Wi-Fi symbol in your PlayBook's home-screen system tray, located in the upper-right corner of your display, and then tap the Wi-Fi on/off button so it reads Off.

The process for disabling Bluetooth is similar; just tap the Bluetooth icon in your PlayBook's system tray, then tap the on/off button into the off position.

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