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Scientists created a simple app that can prolong the working time of your phone’s battery

Posted August 22, 2018

How often do you have to charge your smartphone? Most likely the answer is “every day”. That is a problem with very powerful yet very thin devices – they have relatively small batteries. However, a novel method presented by scientists from the University of Waterloo could extend the battery life of smartphones for up to an hour each day. And it’s just an app.

Charging your phone frequently reduces the lifespan of the battery. Image credit: Santeri Viinamäki via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

There are two ways to increase the range of the phone. One, you can fit a bigger battery. That, of course, is not feasible with an already manufactured device. The second way is just to reduce energy consumption. You can do that by simply not using your phone too much, but that is not going to happen, is it? This new app can reduce your smartphone’s energy consumption without impacting its performance. And it is all about multiple windows on Android devices.

Android operating system allows using multiple windows at the same time, which is similar to what computers do. However, you are not really using two apps at the same time – your attention is typically devoted to one at a time. This new app can reduce the brightness of the window that you are not using primarily. In this way your phone simply consumes less energy. While you are interacting with one window, the other one dims. And when you switch to it, the previous one becomes less bright. Scientists tested this app with 200 smartphone users and found that the app allowed extending the working time of the battery by 10-25 %.

You may think – “What’s the big deal? Just charge your battery more often”. And you are right, that is an option. But frequent charging reduces the lifespan of the battery. Excessive energy consumption also causes the device to heat up. The raise in temperature may damage other electronics components, reducing longevity of the entire device. That is, of course, undesirable, even if you are willing to charge your phone a couple times a day.

Scientists point out that many people charge their phones several times per day. Kshirasagar Naik, co-author of the study, said: “you put the phone on a charger for the night and when you leave home the next day the battery is at 100 per cent, but there is a lot of behind the scenes computation and communication going on, and it drains the battery. By midday charge is reduced to 30 per cent. So, you need to charge the battery many times in a day, and from the user’s perspective that is a big pain”.

This app may not solve that problem completely. But even that one hour of extra working time is a welcome advancement. Although, phone manufacturers could make their devices a little bit thicker and a little bit more practical.

Source: University of Waterloo

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