I have just received my 'new' HTC one V. The instructions clearly state to charge the phone up before first use, yet the the phone switched on and showed full charge straight away, before I had chance to charge it. My worry is that I have been sent a phone that someone else has had and I really want to be sure it is brand new to me.
See Wikipedia on Lithium-Ion battery technology (especially sections "cell life" and "safety").
- Cell life is best at ~50% charged
- Safety requires the battery to be charged to above 3V (and below 4.2V)
- The best consumer experience would be to charge the battery to 100%
- The LiIon battery discharges itself during shipment/storage
- The battery's internal charging level detector may be incorrect and needs some cycles to self-adjust
As a trade off, it's charged to (my guess) 60% and then shipped. It's not full and may be even almost discharged when the customer gets it, thus tell them to charge it the first time. I guess the manual doesn't say it's empty, does it? It's the best tradeoff between cell life and the customer's first user experience with the device.
All batteries have some self-discharge so whatever their charge was initially they will discharge when sitting on the shelf. Also most batteries effectively "die" if they undergo very deep discharge. This is why all batteries are shipped charged - either fully or partially. So when you buy a battery (or a device) the battery will always be charged to some level which will depend on the manufacturing process and the time the battery spent on the shelf. This is why the battery level showing "full" chargealone is not a sign of the phone being not new.