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Why? Because ‘We care what our customers think.’
Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola all released statements claiming they don’t employ similar practices. A spokesperson for Taiwanese-based HTC told the Verge that throttling phone processors as their batteries age “is not something we do.” Motorola, now owned by Lenovo, echoed those comments, saying “We do not throttle CPU performance based on older batteries.”
In emails to PhoneArena, South Korean electronics giants LG and Samsung vehemently denied taking the same questionable precautions as Apple.
“Never have, never will! We care what our customers think,” an LG spokesperson said.
Samsung released a longer statement after telling the Verge it was “looking into it.” Not only did it deny slowing down phones, it also claimed to use battery-optimization software to improve their lifespan.
“Product quality has been and will always be Samsung Mobile’s top priority,” Samsung said. “We ensure an extended battery life of Samsung mobile devices through multi-layer safety measures, which include software algorithms that govern the battery charging current and charging duration. We do not reduce CPU performance through software updates over the lifecycles of the phone.”
This doesn’t mean the batteries used in Android phones don’t decay over time like those in Apple devices. Almost every portable device on the market uses lithium-ion batteries. While they charge faster and last longer, they eventually wear out. It’s why your 4-year-old laptop can only hold a charge for one or two hours when it could last all day a few year ago.
Apple has faced harsh criticism for its “solution” to the lithium-ion problem. Customers were furious after the company disclosed its practice of slowing down old phones via a software update to prevent them from shutting down during times of peak performance. The company was swiftly hit with numerous class-action lawsuits including a criminal suit alleging planned obsolescence—the practice of purposely reducing the lifespan of a product to force customers to upgrade.
Apple apologized to customers in a statement published on Thursday and announced a drastic price cut to out-of-warranty battery replacement services. “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down,” the company wrote in the blog post. “We apologize.”
Of course, any phones can slow down over time for a variety of reasons, but it’s comforting to know Android manufacturers are leaving it up to customers to decide when to take action.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.