I read this:

The battery's flat on the mobile.

I think we should say in the mobile not on the mobile.

  • I'd use 'The mobile's battery's flat', but would choose 'on' rather than 'in' if pressed. It's an intermediate (semi-locative, semi-metaphorical) usage of 'on', cf 'on the train', 'The rear tyre on the car's flat'. Though I'd not use this as proof, and this is metaphorical, this AHDEL definition for on lends support: 9. Used to indicate belonging to: a nurse on the hospital staff. Collins comes closer with: 2. attached to: a puppet on a string. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 5 '15 at 17:50
  • Of course, in the US if you said your mobile's battery is flat we'd advise you to call the AAA. – Hot Licks Jan 5 '15 at 22:37
  • Most mobile homes do not run on batteries anyway, but if they did, then the battery would be in the mobile. Tires, now, tires can go flat on a mobile, especially tires on old Winnebegos. But batteries, I don’t imagine so. What’s a flat battery anyway? – tchrist Jan 5 '15 at 23:14

If I must choose, I'd say on, but a case could be made for in as well, as the battery is inside the mobile phone.

This is going to be a non-answer, but I would honestly just say this instead:

The mobile's battery's flat.

Avoids the problem and sounds far more natural.

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