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Want to save battery? Berkeley's Carat app tells you exactly how to do it!

June 16, 2012

Battery life is one important factor when deciding what mobile device to buy, especially for those people that are constantly on the go, and even more so in case they decide to purchase power-hungry 4G LTE smartphones and tablets. And while there isn’t a perfect way to help you save battery life on your new 4G Android device, you can certainly try the Carat Collaborative Energy Debugging app to help you with that.

Carat is a simple app, available from Google Play as a free download, that can help you improve battery efficiency and save battery life when possible. What’s interesting about Carat is that it’s based on collaborative effort from other users. Therefore, the longer you use it, the better it should work out for you, at least in theory.

The app is able to generate personal recommendations that could help you save battery life by analyzing data provided by everyone else using Carat, including you. Sure, you’ll have to let the application send certain data to its servers, but that’s the trade off you should be willing to make in order to enjoy a longer lasting battery life.

What Carat basically does is analyze what apps drain the battery on your device, and then issue recommendations based on your daily actions:

As you use your device, Carat occasionally takes measurements and sends them to our backend servers in the cloud, where we apply cutting-edge algorithms to determine what steps you can take to use less energy. By collecting snippets of non-personal data from a large number of devices, Carat does not need to run continuously in the background. Nothing we collect identifies you, personally.

Here are the main features of the application:

  • Action List telling you how to improve your battery life and by how much
  • Device information detailing exactly what data is recorded
  • Reports apps that are using lots of energy and whether that is happening on other devices, too
  • Detail views let you dive down into the data and see graphs of energy use
  • Low-overhead sampling requires almost no energy or CPU
  • J-Score tells you how your battery efficiency compares to other users
  • Sharing features let you post/tweet/blog about your experience; more users means more data which means better recommendations for you

So what does Carat collects? Plenty of data, including whether you’re on the move or not, without actually recording your location – or so they say. Here’s a list in plain English of the things Carat will monitor:

  • what apps are running,
  • the % battery remaining,
  • memory and CPU utilization,
  • the unique device ID,
  • the battery state (e.g., plugged in), and
  • the OS version and phone model.

The app, developed by a team of researchers at Berkeley, is available on Google Play, and also via Github and the App Store.