Rant: Punishment If You Let Your BlackBerry Battery Die

We have all had that bad day where we run our mobile phone battery deep into the red zone. It is pretty much inevitable that you will get an important call right right before you recharge it, usually while on your way back to power.  It is at this moment you witness the final exhausted effort of your battery before violently powers your phone off and puts you into a panic wondering how quickly you can  resume the call. On my BlackBerry Storm I have had the battery die on many occasions… call it failure to plan or a bad set of events.

To make things worse, RIM seems to want to punish BlackBerry users who let their batteries go completely dead.  Why does a BlackBerry plugged into a power source require the battery to get some level of an initial charge before you can start to use it again?  Every time it happens I imagined Mike Lazaridis (RIM Co-CEO) shaking his finger at me saying, “Go sit in timeout and next time don’t let your battery run down so low!”

Here is my thing, I have no issue that the phone powers off when the battery dies. This is an earned result of my failure to charge in a timely fashion. My issue, however,  is that once I plug my BlackBerry in it, it refuses to power on.  It makes me wait until the batter reaches a minimum level of charge first.  Keep in mind we are talking about the slowest booting mobile phone known to man. No other phone that I have owned refuses to boot when plugged in to power because the battery is too low.

I assume there is a logical reason to require the battery to reach a specific charge level prior to power on, but, why is the BlackBerry the only smartphone that seems like it hasn’t gotten past this hurdle?  Regardless of the situation, on any other phone, you can quickly get to a power source, power on, and return the call if your battery dies.  The pain and frustration of having my BlackBerry refusing, like a whinny bit##, to power on is enough to ignite your temper. But, to add insult to injury, the slow boot time on the BlackBerry assures a 15 min break in your important call pushing you over the edge.

I know, I know… I should just break down and buy a  portable battery pack.  There really is no reason, though, that your BlackBerry won’t power on as soon as you plug it it.


  1. Joe says

    The iPhone does the same thing. It takes like 5 minutes at
    least to turn back on for use. But with a BB phone you insert a back up battery and you are ready to go. IPhone does not allow for a battery change.

    • says

      I agree on the iPhone lack of battery change. That is a great option on BB and just about every other phone in the world. That said I never noticed the need for 5 min of charge in the 2 yrs I used the iPhone.

      Maybe I only did important business on the BB

  2. Me says

    Are you kidding me? You wasted my time reading that crap. Dude, I wish I did not have to take a crap in the morning too when I wake-up. This is the way it is. DEAL!! Never rant about stupid unchangeable stuff like this again, or you wil not be welcome here anymore…. GEEZUS.

      • Wyndel says


        Your battery ran dead and because the BlackBerry doesn’t run off of the power cord, you switch to Android, which also doesn’t run off of the power cord. I hope there were more reason’s than that.

        • says

          Tons of additional reasons.

          I don’t have a dedication to any phone iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Mobile. If it is new and nice I switch. I never got into BBM so I did not have the draw keeping me on BB.

          This challenge for me has been most pronounced on BB devices. There is so much I like and hate about any technology I own. This was one of those thing that drove me crazy so and I was lucky to relive it just recently.

          Boot Time. Is something I hope RIM will address in OS 6. Regardless of all the things they do at boot the users will be better off if that issue is addressed.

  3. P.Dub says

    I know how you feel and assume that you are just letting off some steam, but, this is not really an indictment of the BlackBerry but mobile phones in general. Mobile phones would need additional power conversion hardware in order for them to work directly of of AC power. Some phones may be better at shutting down before their battery runs completely out of juice, giving you the appearance of booting from AC power, but, if you really let the battery completely drain, you will need to charge to 1 to 2 percent before you can power on your phone.

  4. Joe says

    More relevant is how much battery life you can get on a smartphone.

    I have found my Bold 9700 to hold a better charge during the day, than my iphone 3GS.

    When I am running a power drain app on my iphone, that battery is done in 2 hours.

    So, I have to keep a spare iphone battery with me or keep it plugged in when I can.

  5. bluehorseshoe says

    I’ll take a wild guess at the reason and purpose for the battery requirement…if for any reason the electricity goes and the device is in mid boot, perhaps the OS could go into a corrupt state and return an error code that is not recoverable by the user. With the battery juiced up just enough to cover the boot up sequence, it will ensure that the device will avoid the potential for corrupting any OS files.

      • andrew says

        If that were true, then pulling the battery during a boot would risk corruption. As far as I know, that’s not a problem.

      • P.Dub says

        Be surprised. To make a long story short, cell phones, don’t run off of AC power. Plugging your phone in gives it no power whatsoever. It only charges the battery. You can test this by pulling your battery while plugged in. Your phone will turn off.

        When you plug the power cord into your device, it usually charges the battery faster than use of the phone while plugged in drains it giving the appearance that you are using AC power and charging at the same time. This is not the case.

        Rod’s frustration comes from the fact that he has to charge his battery up to a minimum level in order for it to be able to power his BlackBerry while charging. As I said earlier, this is not unique to BlackBerry devices.

        • says

          Your right on the fact that the phone does not run without the battery but think about it though, we have all flashed a phone before. And the number one thing they say is don’t lose power during the process. Most of the time you have to have it plugged in. I don’t think it is a stretch to think that the phone is most vulnerable during boot.

  6. Kevin says

    Educate yourself first before making such rants without any base. Before you compare BlackBerry with other smartphones, first try to understand the boot sequence process of BlackBerry OS and check what it needs to go through.

    Do keep in mind that the RIM developers are not jerks. If you (specially ROB) can’t blog upto the educated level BlackBerry users have then go and blog about iPhone or just keep copy/pasting the BlackBerry news from CrackBerry and BlackBerry Rocks!.

    I feel like unsubscribing this RSS feed. Fail.

    • says

      It is a good thing that RIM does not go by your standards, otherwise there would never be any improvements. What difference does it make what the phone is going through during boot? All phone platforms should strive to boot faster. Look how long Microsoft got beat up for boot times. They moved some processes out of the boot cycle and everyone was much happier with Windows 7.

      I would hope RIM as well as everyone else would look at something like this and see how it can be improved as opposed to making excuses.

  7. says

    Feel your pain. Battery life was such an issue with my Storm that I quickly purchased a fat battery. This is something of a pain (no more skinny Storm!), but I have experienced many fewer battery-dead incidents since.
    And, unless I see four bars or more at the end of my day, I recharge it overnight.
    These guys are more computer than phone, and gobble power commensurately. One just needs to learn to cope.

  8. Jono says

    Who cares how long it takes to boot, I have to do that maybe once a month. I’d prefer that the phone hibernate rather then die, avoiding this problem nearly completely.

    In fact, it somewhat does this. When the battery gets low, it turns off the antenna.

    • says

      I used meterberry to reboot my Storm everday at 5 AM when it least impacted me and it also did a good job cleaning up memory when I ran low. Additionally, I used Shrink-OS to remove the unwanted crap the carrier puts on the OS. That combination made it so I only rebooted my Storm when I wanted.

      Also Shrink-OS took my Storm boot time from just under 5 min to about 3 min. That is not the iPhone or Android 30 seconds but that is a 40% improvement.

      Then again I just made your point I automated booting daily.

  9. DavidB says

    Couple points:
    1. If this is such an important issue to you that you feel the need to rant like this, carry an external or carry or spare. Seriously. This is one of the most ridiculous and unfounded “rant” posts I’ve ever read on a BlackBerry site. There are FAR MORE serious problems with BlackBerry and their OS than THIS.
    2. Those commenting that BlackBerry doesn’t run off the charge cable because a smartphone can’t run on AC, well, perhaps you need to do a bit of research. The charge cable provides 5V DC (USB standard voltage) power. The BlackBerry battery provides 3.7V DC. BlackBerry ALWAYS runs on DC.
    3. The REAL rant here SHOULD have been the ridiculously long time to usable device from a battery swap. Storm was bad, but Tour is absolutely ridiculous. There is absolutely ZERO reason the core BlackBerry functions aren’t IMMEDIATELY available from power up. BlackBerry OS it not some general purpose OS like Windows, every build is custom tailored to the device. Your BlackBerry shouldn’t need to “boot up”, you should just be able to turn it on and it’s ready to go. The OS is in memory on the device, so there’s no hard disk like a PC from which the OS needs to be loaded from disk into RAM. Are we to believe that me RIM stores the OS in one part of RAM and then “loads” it into another part of RAM when booting? How inefficient is THAT?

    Ok. Now beat me up and call me stupid in a reply to this comment like you’ve essentially done to all the other comments.

  10. das says

    fully agree, needed to call taxi this morning within a certain timeframe only to find my new blackberry dead and unresponsive after being plugged in which threw me into panic. luckily a roomate was home so i could use their phone but yeah could have cost me my job… my last moterola worked as soon as it was plugged in so i dont get it

  11. Fashionnoir says

    Totally agree, i found this post while waiting on my dead phone to come back to life. i mean its already been 10mins why so long….

  12. Moe says

    Here’s what I figured out when getting “battery too low for radio”, dial 911 (and hang up right away), this will make the phone turn on immediately and you will be able to call. good luck :)

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