As cell phone operators prepare for Hurricane Sandy, Edmunds.com’s Director of Mobile Web Products Mike Woods offers these three ways your smartphone may be affected and tips to save your battery life for when you need it most:
- Networks are up, but may degrade. Widespread power outages will not post a threat to cell phone networks because they use backup power systems ranging from batteries to gas-powered generators. After several hours, however, these backup systems may degrade and eventually fail after several days without main power, especially if it is difficult to get people to service them and refill fuel to keep the generators running. In addition, wind, flying debris or falling trees could knock down or damage some of the towers, reducing coverage and capacity.
- Highly populated areas may overwhelm the system. In highly populated areas such as New York, Northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the combination of reduced network capacity and high traffic often overwhelms the remaining network and it may be difficult to actually place a call or connect to a Web site.
- Smartphone batteries will lose power. The most fragile part of the system would most likely be people’s cell phones. Many smartphone batteries barely last a day under normal usage. Turn off all automatic data services, push notifications, and e-mail in order to save the battery for the times that you specifically need to use the device. Putting an iPhone into “airplane mode” is an easy way to save on battery use.
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