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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 7, July 2012, Posted On: 6/21/2012

UC Berkeley Unveils Mobile Phone Battery-Use Analysis Application

Hank Schlesinger
vending route, routeman tools, mobile tool, UC Berkeley's Algorithms Machines and People Laboratory, Carat, battery life app, fleet news, hogs, mprove battery efficiency

BERKELEY, CA -- Smartphone users who have wondered why their batteries run out of juice more quickly than expected have a new tool for identifying the problems that can deplete a battery's charge.

A team of researchers at UC Berkeley's Algorithms, Machines and People Laboratory has written an application for Apple iOS and Android devices that analyzes the programs running on the device that consume the most energy. The app was developed in order to conduct research into power consumption, with the objective of finding ways to improve battery efficiency.

Called Carat, the app performs an in-depth analysis of a smartphone, tablet or music player. Users download, install and run Carat on their mobile devices, allowing it to take periodic measurements of battery drain. Data are then transmitted to the research team's computers for analysis, and the results are returned to the user, along with solid advice for boosting battery life.

According to the researchers, the information gathered is kept confidential, and the reports generated are specific to a device. They provide information on what apps seem to be using more energy than normal. For example, a Carat user could learn whether a program running on his or her device, such as Twitter, is using substantially more energy than it does on other users' equipment. This could indicate a software "bug" or incorrect use. The software also compiles information for the project about popular programs that consume a great deal of power ("hogs").

Essentially, the project offers a trade. Users get detailed reports on how to squeeze more battery life from their devices, while the researchers gather data on what apps are the biggest energy hogs, and the software bugs that shorten battery life.

The application and information about its use and its purpose may be found at carat.cs.berkeley.edu.

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