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Why every Android user needs this green app

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The Android-based HTC Incredible (version 1) is a pretty awesome cell phone on most fronts. It’s slim, has a nice touch screen, uses the Verizon network and has access to all the Android apps. But it has one major flaw that has almost caused me to toss it in the dust bin on numerous occasions: its quickly drained battery life.

Essentially, all of the widgets, display screen apps, and speedy network connections drain the battery life in less than 12 hours. If you want to use it as an alarm to wake yourself up in the morning and you don’t plug it in overnight, don’t count on the battery life to last til the morning.

The Internet is full are tips and tricks for how to extend the battery life, and I’ve tried a half-dozen of these. However, I’m not the kind of person who wants to spend a lot of time manually playing around with my phone settings. I just want the phone to work in the way I want it to, without much effort. Hey, I spent a couple hundred dollars on it a year ago and also signed a two-year contract to get it.

PowerMax app

Recently I discovered the single app that has smartly and simply solved many of these battery life problems for me: the PowerMax Android app made by Volt-Up. Just download the PowerMax app for free from the Android market place; start it up; and it clicks into low power mode, turning off Wi-Fi, bluetooth, GPS, and a lower power screen mode, as the basic setting. When you want to use the networks and GPS maps, etc, you open whatever app you want, and it overrides the PowerMax widget for that use.

My only question is why didn’t the original HTC Incredible come with something like this? I’ve heard the HTC Incredible 2 is a lot better on the battery front. But the PowerMax software is so simple, and suited to Android, it seems meant to be on the phone already. While the PowerMax widget is free to download, you have to pay $1.99 to keep it going after a period of time.

One of the best parts is that the PowerMax app makes phones essentially a lot more energy-efficient and thus greener. I charge up my HTC Incredible via the power grid a lot less now than I used to, and the app has eliminated the power-sucking settings that I didn’t use all the time.

Better battery management = Greener phones

The majority of the carbon emissions due to cell phones comes from phones being plugged into the grid and using vampire power, or consuming electricity when they are already fully charged, according to the Climate Group. If you have to plug your phone in less, you’ll be responsible for a lot less vampire power. And that’s a good thing.

Battery management is one way that the innovations of information technology can help the much slower-moving progress of the energy industry. There isn’t a Moore’s Law for batteries, so the speedy progress of computing needs to lend a hand and help out the slow-moving battery.

Really smart battery management will also be a differentiating factor for energy-consuming and battery-reliant industries like electric vehicles and networked PC management (like Verdiem). Do you have a power management cell phone favorite? If so, let me know in the comments.

12 Responses to “Why every Android user needs this green app”

  1. Billy Vandergaw

    You could just set it up yourself using LOCALE app, and all it’s fun features. When your at work it can turn on and off certain things like bluetooth, wifi, gps, or even data. And when docked in the car it can turn on bluetooth and turn the brightness up. Or if you’re at the movies it’s turn the screen brightness 0%, volume to mute, turn off all wifi/bluetooth, and if someone calls you it can text them back saying “Hey i’m at the movies, I’ll call/text when I’m out”

  2. vonskippy

    Or, for the Incredible, just get a extended battery. Two extended batteries, plus a USB charger WITH external battery charger, costs under $40 on (and they don’t require a different phone back). A much (MUCH) better investment then in some hinky smoke and mirror app.

  3. Vampire power just isn’t an issue on modern ac adapters any more. 10 yrs ago, yes. I’ve measured numerous ac adapers, they’re less than 0.1W these days, for no-load power.

  4. Modern ac adapters have nearly zero vampire power (<0.1W). It's just not an issue any more. I've measured many ac adapters (note that the common Kill-a-Watt meter is not accurate at these low levels). I also have a new Samsung/Verizon Charge phone (AMOLED,LTE…). With radios on, but not using it (standby), the battery can last 4-5 days.

  5. If you want to save battery life, turn off 3g when you’re not using it, its by far the thing that drains the most battery. A simple widget with screen brightness, wifi, and 3g adjustments will do wonders for any Android phone.

    • GreyPoupon

      I use juice defender as well – pro version. I have it set to turn on wifi/data only when I activate the screen. It also connects once every 15 mins to update mail and widgets. Brilliant – and less intrusive than powermax. I have an xperia arc, haven’t plugged it in for 63 hours and I am still at 25 percent. I use my phone a lot. This app has changed my life. I went from less than 24 hours of juice to around 72 hours.