Mobile Devices: Getting A Bit More From The Battery

In the last five years we have seen an explosion of mobile devices within the general population so much that it is estimated that the typical British teenager owns six mobile devices, with 84% owning a smartphone, BBC (2013). Where as my generation grew up with vinyl, cassettes and the ZX spectrum this generation is firmly plugged into connectivity and instant gratification.  Where the operation of technologies such as the touchscreen computer is as second nature to them as feeding their addiction of ‘looking charging points.’

As a business we can harness this almost inherent link to touchscreen devices to reduce the staff training and development cost through converting our systems to mirror the operating systems found on these devices (iSO and Android).  By taking this pathway we reduce or ICT hardware cost as these devices start at £50 unlike laptops and desktop computers. When combined with the development of online software such as MS Office 365 and Google Documents businesses and organisations no longer require local installation of software, only a platform to view and interact with the internet.

However, there are some key issues, well one key issue, that of power.  For using touchscreen tablets with a fix location such as in the office or other backrooms it is a matter of having the device plugged into the power socket. However, for roaming it is much more problematic especially when roaming is offsite. The quickest and simplest solution for roaming on site is to provide a recharging bank which offers fully charged batteries or devices. However, offsite is somewhat more problematic where spare batteries offer a short-term solution, it is by no-means a true solution.

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Recent research by Carroll and Gernot (2010) and  Perrucci, Fitzek and Widmer (2011) suggests how smart design and intelligent usage can extend the battery life. Please note that this is not a definitive explanation of all the influencing factors on battery life.  These findings show that If you need to use a wireless connection use a Wi-Fi not 3G as you get an extra 3.5 megabytes of data for the 1400 mW’s of power. However, the frequency of remote connection needs to be reduce to a minimum and where possible a hard-docking, synchronising and charging approach should be used to remove the need for all wireless connections. The brightness of the screen needs to be lowered to about 60% intensity saving 273 mW’s for a white background and 161 mW’s for a black background. Suggesting that interface design needs to use darker colours to reduce power consumption. Finally, data should be written to the flash memory as this will save 22 mW’s for every megabyte stored.

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