PSA: Turning off your BlackBerry PlayBook's display w/ the power button is the same thing as tapping the software Stand By icon

BlackBerry PlayBook: Stand By and Power Button are the same thing
By Kevin Michaluk on 26 Oct 2011 06:23 pm EDT

The best thing about attending events like BlackBerry DevCon or BlackBerry World is that it brings together tons of people who live lives focused around BlackBerry and the mobile space. For a person like me who lives and breathes BlackBerry everyday, I feel more at home at a BlackBerry conference than anywhere else in the world (no evil glares from Miss CrackBerry telling me it's about time I stop talking about BlackBerry!!).

As you might imagine would be the case at a BlackBerry event, pretty much the topic of every conversation is, well, BlackBerry. And the conversations that occur - at breakfast, lunch, in the bathroom, in the hallway, at dinner, at the bar... can get pretty interesting. Sometimes even downright heated!

At this year's DevCon, by far the best friendly argument I got into was with my friend and ex-RIM analyst Chris Umiastowski (who's been dropping some blog posts on CrackBerry recently and joined on us on our DevCon Podcast).

I walked in on a conversation Chris was having with another colleague, and the topic they were discussing was the battery life on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Specifically, Chris was saying how much better the battery life is when you use the software Stand By shortcut to turn off the PlayBook's display, rather than the physical power button. Chris figured his time between PlayBook charges went from two days up to four plus days once he quit using the physical power button and started tapping the battery icon and Stand By each time he wanted to turn his PlayBook off. Chris and colleague spent some time hypothesizing what happens differently between Stand By and the power button for a couple minutes (the colleague seemed to be in agreement with Chris). Maybe the WiFi listen works differently, or maybe it enters a smarter energy saving mode, yada yada yada.

After a minute of listening I FINALLY SNAPPED... Tapping the physical power button? Tapping the software Stand By shortcut? THEY DO THE SAME THING. I let loose some swears, told Chris he was on crack and went on to rant about how turning off the PlayBook with a tap of the physical power button is exactly the same as turning it off with the software Stand By button. Chris didn't believe me... said he was going to check into it with people. I said what's there's to check into and who are you going to ask who knows better than me?! I just told him that they're the same thing. Chris still didn't trust my words, so decided when he got home he was going to do a scientific test to compare the stand by battery life of the PlayBook when shut down in each different manner. Chris was certain his PlayBook battery life has been waayyyyy better with the trick of using the software shortcut for Stand By.

In the meantime, I talked to a member of the PlayBook team who confirmed what I was telling Chris. If there was any difference in battery life between powering down with the physical button compared to the software function, it wasn't by design intent (the person I talked to would have been shocked). I told Chris this, and yet again he didn't believe me and insisted on doing his test.

So what was the final verdict??? Who's right? Who's wrong??


Kevin was right. Chris was wrong. After 20 hours, whether stand by mode was entered via the physical button or software shortcut the battery life was exactly the same - 91% remaining in both tests (and Chris confirmed in both tests that WiFi continued to listen). We didn't bet money on this one - instead I bet Chris that if I won I'd blog the story up and make fun of him on the CrackBerry homepage. He's a good sport. :)

And the real lesson here? Don't be superstitious over how you turn off the display on your PlayBook to enter stand by. Use the power button or the software Stand By shortcut. It's the same thing.

Of course, I'm still waiting for RIM to give me a two finger swipe gesture to power off my PlayBook display. And if the PlayBook can't get it, I sure as hell hope the first BBX Smartphone has it. People will buy it just for that feature.

Reader comments

PSA: Turning off your BlackBerry PlayBook's display w/ the power button is the same thing as tapping the software Stand By icon


"Of course, I'm still waiting for RIM to give me a two finger swipe gesture to power off my PlayBook display."

I'm still waiting for a2dp and some additional keyboard support (spell/correct/autotext/cursor keys) and I've been waiting longer than you. But have no fear, we can both keep waiting and waiting and waiting.

See you in February.

@kevin - I would love to see RIM add a similar feature for the volume controls. I have already sent an email to Slacker to request on-screen volume slider be incorporated into the interface of their PlayBook app... but it would be nice to see RIM incorporate one into the OS as well. I'm tired of fighting with the buttons through my Dicota case (which is awesome..BTW).

yeah thats what happens when you use the power "program" icon on the home screen. If you tap the battery icon in the upper right then all the buttons work as expected.

Mine did the same thing outta the box, I called RIM and they had me reinstall from the Desktop Software. Been working fine ever since !

Also note that Standby does't work via Power Button on 1.07 -- and RIM knows it....

Will john q public / joe public / joe bloggs / john citizen have to wait 5 months for this to be fixed RIM ???....

Having recently bought a PB in expectation of OS2 in the next month or so - my employer at this point is refusing to support bridge until the user experience is improved despite being an all-BB employer - am very disappointed with the OS2 delay.... were RIM talking abut a late southern hemisphere Summer!

Other errors/ battery issues that I am unhappy with

- 'Default' mode not working as described - eg. "Facebook" will stop loading (when logging in on the blue screen) when on default mode. This should only happen on Pause mode.
- 'Showcase' mode seriously sucking battery life. Even with all apps closed, wifi off, I lose almost 50% of charge in a day on showcase mode, only 5-10% on default mode
- Lack of spellchecker
- All the "too many redirections" errors in browser - regular occurence when following twitter links

Not support Bridge mode? I don't understand what there is to support. You download the App and Bridge it to your BB.

There are a number of settings in BES that can be turned on/off such as: Disable AppWorld, Diable GPS, Disable Bridge, Disable Tethering...

At present.
a. no appworld
b. even if had appworld, i suspect no bridge.

I agree with the fellow who said he doesn't even wanna look at the stupid thing... I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough... The browser is convenient and comfortable to use while lazing around the house.

Except I just tried logging into my credit unit and the logon button is overlayed by icons for twitter, facebook, youtube, etc. That is rather than 'wrapping' or whatever the links are not distinguished but appear in one overlapping mess.

Yes very true. The browser has many issues still. Oh well... I'm tired of complaining, RIM has now pushed off the release long enough to have me not even care anymore...

A fun little blog post, and yet people still complain!

It's funny, I consider myself to be a pretty big BlackBerry nerd and after having owned my PlayBook for a month, I just learned YESTERDAY what Showcase was. Up until yesterday, I just thought it was a little inconvenience, whenever I'd go fullscreen with a different app. It never clicked!

Regardless, what I'm getting at, is that knowledge is power! It's nice to learn things like this, though. Thanks for the post!

I always use the display button, I can't see why anyone would think it's different.

In spite of all the disappointment the last 2 days - I love my playbook.

posted via my Blackberry Playbook.

THEORY (i'm not saying it's true, just a possibility): the power button is a physical button, so when you press it, you're actuating an electrical switch, which potentially zaps just that little bit more power with each press, due to the fact that each time the circuit is closed (or maybe it's opened, i don't know), there's a little bit of power loss when the contacts are really really close but not quite touching.
I'm probably getting my theories mixed up, but a good example is if you have bad contact from a battery to a circuit, the power drains significantly faster due to mini-sparks (or whatever they should be called) that occur when there isn't perfect contact between the battery leads and wire end.

nicely done Kev. you show that mofo why you're #1! :P
also, might wanna lay off the PlayBook posts for a while lol, it's a real sore spot for now :|

I had wondered this for a while. Thanks for clearing it up. Next question: ho big of a difference will you see in full power down Vs standby?

With the 2.0 delay till Feb. I now understand why crackberry had fire sales in pb accessories. Wish I had waited to buy.

I'm a newB, but I thought this was common knowledge to tap on the battery to select 'standby, turn off or restart'? The power button is flush with the surface, what is the point of using it unless to reboot the device any way. Chances are you'll do damage to the power button to select those three options. Also beats searching for the Power icon in you list of icons, unless you've moved it up to the top of the list of icons.


please heed my adviceand only use the standby button on the homescreen. I already need to send in my tablet to get the power button fixed because of pressing it too many times. live and learn.