In the months following Apple’s ‘throttle-gate’ controversy, where the company admitted to slowing down the batteries of older handsets, it seems that battery life is still an important concern for most mobile phone users. In fact, researchers at the University of Waterloo have found a new method to extend the battery life of smartphones for up to an hour each day.
The researchers have developed an app where smartphone users can reduce the amount of energy consumed by their device without any significant impact on the device’s performance.
Kshirasagar Naik, co-author of the study and professor in Waterloo’s faculty of Electrical and Chemical Engineering comments, “We have developed an app which users can install on their devices and use to reduce the brightness of non-critical applications. So when you’re interaction with one application, the brightness of the other window goes down thereby reduces the energy consumption of the device.
The app was evaluated in an experiment involving 200 smartphone users, who downloaded the software on their devices and used it while they had multiple windows open. It was found that when the energy savings technique was used it extended their battery life by 10 to 25 percent.
“What happens now is that you put the phone on a charger for the night and when you leave home the next day the battery is at 100 percent, but there is a lot of behind the scenes computation and communication going on, and it drains the battery,” said Naik. “By midday charge is reduced to 30 percent. So, you need to charge the battery many times in a day, and from the user’s perspective that is a big pain.
“Due to the excess energy consumption, the phone becomes warmer and warmer while the frequent charging reduces the life of the battery. So, batteries that are meant to last for three years may have to be replaced in two years.”
However, the idea of apps not only tracking but managing your device’s battery life is not a new concept. For example, Samsung handsets are pre-loaded with Samsung Task Manager, an application that allows users to see exactly what is going on with their phones. It provides information such as: how apps are performing and how much space they are taking. Essentially, the app is a perfect way to check your phone’s performance.
The only difference between the two is that the Waterloo researcher’s is heavily focused on how applications affect the device’s battery performance while the Samsung Task Manager provides a comprehensive analysis of how all apps on the device are performing.
Regardless of which type of performance management app you prefer, it is beneficial to have one in order to see how your smartphone is keeping up with the way in which you use it.