Monday, 28 November 2016

Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

The battery life with which we have on our mobile devices is limited, and the complaint is constant: move much in other -Camera performance, power, quality screens- but apparently very little in the battery life.

All this has made several myths about how to make emerge perfect battery use in our smartphones. Some are true and others false, but what happens to those statements in the case of battery care also happens to speak of the autonomy of these devices. What to believe and what not?

The battle for efficiency is real
These complaints, however, must be questioned. It is true that years ago that smartphones do not spend the day or day and a half of autonomy in a more or less normal use, and it seems that manufacturers make the priority is not to extend these autonomies, but make these devices are increasingly powerful or have better cameras.

Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

Is it true that the autonomy of the batteries have not improved anything? That might be printing to check how to stretch the use of our smartphones for a whole day still seems to be a complicated task. And yet it is clear that although the eternal promises of the revolution in baterĂ­sa not stop -we get all- heard what itself has been improved is the efficiency of these devices.

We have commented on various analyzes: some may not appreciate it , but devices with this power can withstand the same enduring much less ambitious devices is remarkable. Energy management offered by mobile operating systems adds to the improvements that have been integrated processor manufacturers. We get more power and better performance at all and still enjoy (and suffer) these autonomies of around one or two days (depending on usage , Clear).

So that's the first myth that we should reconsider when talking about the autonomy of mobile phones. It is certainly worse if we consider all that we have gained in performance, but as always there are other factors at play.

What our mobile battery eats
Achieve a long battery is easy to say but much harder to do. The idea is to try not to do many things at once : because our phones are composed of a large number of components and technologies that need to share battery, the idea is to maximize the use of undemanding features and minimize the Very demanding.

A study published in December 2013 by a group of researchers from Chung Hua University in Taiwan ( PDF ) analyzed the impact of these components on the energy consumption of a conventional smartphone. Although the data may have changed somewhat in recent models of the manufacturers it is clear that the CPU and connectivity GSM and WiFi are the classic culprits of the autonomy of our devices.

Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

If you use any of these features much notice how this autonomy is affected, and here there are more than myths realities. Obviously when playing demanding games CPU and GPU mobile depleted battery faster, but so is the fact that the WiFi connectivity have permanently activated if not we will use is also not a good idea .

The same study revealed that the chips needed 1,4260W analyzed by scanning available networks and only 0,89W by making data transmission. If we are connected to WiFi but not transmitting, low consumption 0,256W according to these studies, which is not negligible considering that we are not using.

Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

Another curious fact was revealed in the study: send data consumes more than receive . Although the tests were done with now somewhat obsolete connections (EDGE and WiFi 802.11g), in both cases it was shown that energy efficiency improvement in the reception more than sending in this device. The energy consumption of Bluetooth is "very low", and in this study a particularly striking standard was introduced in this area but nothing widespread in the field of smartphones: ZigBee was ultra efficient and researchers claim could be combined with WiFi to replace those connections when scanning networks available for example.

A related and more recent research from the University of Aalborg in Denmark (study PDF ) focused on energy efficiency technologies connection to mobile networks, and there clarified that the evolution of these networks has also favored us : LTE and its iterations is more efficient than previous solutions, but as claimed by other experts that also depends on factors such as the frequency band used or 3G or 4G coverage exists in the area in which we live .

Close tasks not save battery
Apart from these crucial factors, another of the sections that influence the autonomy we get from our device it is in that CPU usage, but attention because here there is an old myth always commented . Would not it be better to have completely closed applications that are available in the background on your phone?
Myths and Realities about the autonomy of mobile phones

That was the impression for many users, who insisted on closing tasks that were in the background without using both Android and iOS. Years ago it might make sense especially for memory management, a scarce resource in those early smartphones. Things have changed dramatically, and not only have more memory, but the management of this resource is now much more efficient .

In fact when Android "sacamos" an application off the screen in the task manager really not we are "killing" , something that can only be done by stopping altogether the task manager system applications. Following this myth began to emerge applications that promised to kill those applications to improve battery life, but many of them ironically did the opposite : caused increased battery consumption .

This week we see the confirmation of this fact by both Apple as Google, which indicated that close applications have no impact on the battery . In fact, he indicated one of the heads of engineering at Android, stop them might even have a slight negative effect. In Wired explained with more detail how management tasks these devices work, but the idea is clear: systems task management are smart enough and to achieve maximum efficiency when working with all applications that we use in our smartphones.

That's especially true now that for example Android includes Doze in Marshmallow, a technology that goes beyond the new Android N that appear in autumn. That energy management has also been a key feature of good performance of the iPhone, which despite having batteries of smaller capacity than many Android - based devices achieved a remarkable autonomy, especially after the arrival of low power mode iOS 9 .

There are obviously good practices and even applications that effectively help make more intelligent use of our devices, but in many sections mobile platforms have matured enough to try to provide maximum possible autonomy. In the end, yes, we will be us who will condition the autonomy with the use we give to our devices, of course.

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