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Android Battery Drain Problems? Purdue's HUSH Will Help You Out

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Purdue University has created a new software tool named HUSH, which looks to reduce the battery drain caused by apps in Android devices by as much as 16 percent.

Researchers from Purdue collaborated with Intel and Mobile Enerlytics to develop the tool, studying the usage of a total of 2,000 Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 smartphones by Samsung across 61 countries and covered by 191 wireless carriers.

The study revealed that, in daily use, 45.9 percent of battery drain due to Android apps. The research also found out that 28.9 percent, or almost two-thirds of the battery drain that happens while the smartphone's screen is off, is caused by apps that wake up frequently and keep running in the background.

To address the problems, the researchers released HUSH, which can reduce 15.7 percent from the 28.9 percent battery drain being experienced by consumers.

"During screen-off, the phone hardware should enter the sleep state, draining close to zero power," said electrical and computer engineering professor at Purdue Y. Charlie Hu, adding that if apps would periodically wake up the Android device, the apps should put the smartphone back to sleep.

This is not happening though, Yu said, due to bugs in the software and the incorrect usage of wakelocks, which are APIs for the power control of Android-powered devices.

According to Hu, by using HUSH to reduce battery drain by as much as 15.7 percent, Android smartphone owners will be able to have a battery life that is almost one-sixth longer compared to how their batteries performed before installing HUSH.

HUSH does this by killing all the background activities that keep running due to the initiation of Android apps when the user turns off the screen of the device. HUSH identifies the apps and processes running in the background, determines which ones should be kept running and then terminates those that should not.

The decisions on which apps and processes running in the background to terminate is based on the activities of the users and the apps and processes that are frequently used. HUSH flags the apps and processes that are not frequently used, then ceases all related background activity.

Hu targets to extend the battery life of all smartphones by double what users are enjoying now, with the development of HUSH the first step in what he describes as a non-trivial journey.

The HUSH tool is free and can be downloaded through its GitHub page.

Photo: stannate | Flickr

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