Android apps help improve battery life


Computerworld – The mobile operating system Android for phones and tablets offers a wide variety of apps and can be quite useful in your professional and personal life. But after you’ve added a bunch of apps and used it for a while, Android can also get bogged down or unstable, run slowly and/or eat battery juice too quickly.Like their larger computing counterparts, Android-based devices need to be maintained. Problems can start if the internal storage becomes full (or close to it) or if you’re running too many apps or background processes at once (which also decreases battery life).What follows is a description of 10 apps that can help increase the performance of your Android device. Note: A few of these apps require you to root your device — in other words, you need to unlock the device, giving apps the ability to use full root permissions. (Keep in mind that there’s the possibility that you could void your warranty.)Tired of the same old battery life drain game? A team of engineers from UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines, and People Laboratory has developed an app called Carat that “provides a great deal of information about how energy is being used on your phone,” according to the official description.So how does Carat work? The app runs in the background and monitors the energy consumption of various apps and processes on your smartphone, then sends that information to a data analytics Spark application running on Amazon Web Services. Usual suspects include data-hungry apps, an outdated operating system, Wi-Fi, and GPS.”These measurements are sent to our servers, which throw them into a big statistical stew and try to infer how devices are using energy and under what circumstances,” says the Carat Web site. “The results of these analyses are then sent back to the app, which can give you feedback and actionable advice about how to improve your battery life.”In a brief test, Crave found the app to be useful right off the bat, as it recommended we upgrade our outdated operating system on a jailbroken iPhone 4 (running iOS 5.0.1) to the latest version, which could give an estimated battery boost of 47 minutes and 20 seconds. One must run the app for two days before more useful recommendations start popping up. We’ll report more findings in a few days.Skeptics worrying about privacy should know that Carat sends information about your currently running apps, battery life remaining, memory/CPU utilization, device ID, battery state, phone model and operating system version to UC Berkeley. The app also detects when you move around. Despite the seemingly intrusive data collection, Carat’s developers note that they collect the data anonymously to improve the app’s usefulness, and they don’t use it to personally identify users.

App 2 SD
App 2 SD analyzes your installed apps and conveniently lists those that can be moved to your SD card, those already on the SD card and those that can’t be moved from internal storage. Then it helps you move all appropriate apps to the SD card (either individually or as a group) to free up internal storage space. It can also monitor new apps you install in the future and notify you when they’re movable.The lists of apps are by default sorted by their file size, so you can quickly see those that are taking up the most space. Total space and free space of your device’s internal storage and SD card are conveniently shown on the bottom of the app. App 2 SD also has a simple cache-clearing feature that prompts you to clear app cache if it’s larger than 500KB.Unfortunately, App 2 SD can’t automatically move the apps to the SD card. It can only pop up the Application Info screen for each app you want to move; you must then manually hit the “Move to SD card” button, and (if moving multiple apps) then hit the back button to go to the next Application Info screen.If your device is rooted, consider using Gemini App Manager instead of (or in addition to) App 2 SD, which can automatically list and move apps — it doesn’t, however, automatically notify you after installing a movable app like App 2 SD does.

CPU Tuner

CPU Tuner is similar to JuiceDefender, but only works on rooted Android devices. It can regulate CPU speed, data connections and syncing to help save battery life and increase performance. You can configure it to control these settings automatically by creating triggers based upon the battery level and the state of the device: screen locked, call in progress, using battery, using AC power or battery too hot. In addition to triggers, it can also automatically adjust the CPU speed based upon the profile you choose: Performance, Power Save, On Demand and Conservative.For example, you could set CPU Tuner to under-clock the CPU to save power when the battery is low or over-clock to increase performance when battery life isn’t an issue. You can also disable or limit data connections and/or background syncing when your battery is running low. Then if you need to go online, you can still manually enable the data connection and sync.CPU Tuner is a bit more complex than JuiceDefender. Hidden in the main settings, for example, are ways to save multiple configurations and configuration scheduling. In other words, though CPU Tuner offers a very flexible configuration, it may take some time to wrap your head around the concepts of the profiles, triggers and governors.

This app helps reduce battery drain by regulating your data connections and by syncing schedule, screen settings and other device components. You configure it by enabling the profile for the level of juice-saving you desire: Balanced, Aggressive or Extreme. The Balanced profile is fully automatic and doesn’t require your input. The Aggressive profile automatically disables data connectivity when the battery is low, which you can turn back on when needed by clicking the shortcut in the notification area of Android. The Extreme profile keeps data connections disabled by default; they can be turned on manually and you can whitelist apps that always need connectivity. For example, it can automatically disable the Wi-Fi if you aren’t connected to a network or you aren’t nearby networks you frequently use.The Free version of JuiceDefender supports the Balanced and Aggressive profiles and offers limited mobile data connection controls and sync scheduling. The Plus version ($1.99) offers more setting customizations for the Aggressive profile and adds support for the Extreme profile. It also adds Wi-Fi control and more customization for the sync schedule. The Ultimate version ($4.99) adds AutoSync, screen timeout and screen brightness controls and offers additional sync scheduling customization. If you have a rooted device, it also lets you control CPU speed, GPS control and 2G/3G switching.You can customize the functionality even more with the Customize and Advanced profiles. All versions of JuiceDefender support these profiles, but there are limitations on what settings you can configure in the lower versions. However, you can still see and review the settings to understand what the app offers in the higher versions.Despite the rather confusing number of configurations and versions, I found JuiceDefender to be straightforward to configure and use. Sorting through the differences between the three versions was a bit of a mind-boggler, but it does offer a comparison table via a button in the app to help. Remember, if you can’t change a setting, it’s probably because it’s disabled and only included in a higher version.

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