Scientists at Aston University in Birmingham, UK, have come up with a technique to minimize mobile phone power consumption by as much as 60 percent.
Their research — published in Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies Journal — has produced a hybrid mobile-cloud computing platform that can automagically identify and offload the most power-hungry parts of an application to run on remote servers.
The scientists claim that, while mobile-cloud hybrid computing is not a new thing (Google Maps is a good example) this is the first time in which a generic framework flexible enough to be deployed in any app has been developed.
The key to their solution, they say, is in the optimization algorithms that find out what are the parts that can be off-loaded to the cloud.
Since these parts aren’t running on the local iron, the phone will no need to spend computing cycles on them, thus saving battery power.
The engineers at Aston University, led by doctoral researcher Amir Akbar, have managed to do it while at the same time greatly limiting the communication between the phone and the cloud.
According to Akbar, their tools had a huge impact on two real world applications: “On one [an Instagram clone] our results showed that battery consumption could be reduced by over 60%, at an additional cost of just over 1 MB of network usage,” he said. On a second app — the open source app Mather — he claims their optimized version used 35% less power, “at a cost of less than 4 KB additional data”.
There’s only two downsides to this hybrid solution: The first is that it will only work if there’s a network connection. But this will only negate the power savings, as then the app will run all the code locally, as usual.
The second one is a potential problem with data privacy, but we are already using cloud apps full of private data over encrypted connections — like Google Docs, Office 365, or Facebook — so that wouldn’t be much of a problem either.
I for sure would like all app developers to optimize their apps so I can save up to 60 percent of my battery life. Anything to make me forget about the power plug for a few days is fine by me.