phone-batterySmartphones are an increasingly ubiquitous part of both our personal and professional lives, but battery life remains something of an enduring challenge.  

With the average user believed to spend around 30 hours each month on over 25 apps, it is perhaps not surprising that they are a major source of power drain.  What is perhaps surprising is just how they suck energy from our phones.

A recent study from Purdue University and Intel found that apps are a primary source of power drain, with up to 30 percent of battery power lost even when the screen is off.  This is due to the propensity for apps to regularly ‘wake up’ and then run in the background.

The research team managed to salvage around 16 percent of this energy via a new system called HUSH, which they’ve placed onto GitHub for others to build upon.

The system is capable of identifying background activities on the fly and suppressing those that aren’t important, thus saving energy that would otherwise be wasted.

“Being able to reduce the total daily energy drain by about 16 percent is rather significant,” the researchers said.  “But the big picture is that we want to double the battery life for smartphones.”

The role of university/business collaboration

It’s a project that is something our recently formed partnership with global ICT icon Huawei is trying to build upon.  The partnership will see two R&D projects undertaken to try and reduce the energy consumption, and therefore the costs involved in running communications networks.

The partnership was formally announced at the recent Forum on UK-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship that was held at the university and is part of Huawei’s long-term aim to foster closer links with British universities.

“We are excited by the research we’re collaborating on with Cardiff University. Both of these projects have the potential to deliver technical breakthroughs that will improve the broadband experience of billions of people around the world when they use their smartphones to open an app or surf the web. We’re also proud that this partnership with Cardiff extends our co-operation and investment with leading British universities, whose technical expertise is world-class,” Gordon Luo, Huawei UK CEO said at the launch.