Chart via "Who Killed My Battery?"; click for larger view
You know about some of the things that are putting such a hurt on your mobile battery that you can’t hit 4 p.m. without a warning. Streaming music over 3G, for example, or keeping the screen on for long camera sessions. But mobile web sites and certain free apps might be killing your phone’s juice in sneaky ways, according to some recent studies.
At the World Wide Web 2012 conference in Lyon, France, this week, Stanford researchers plan to present “Who Killed My Battery?: Analyzing Mobile Browser Energy Consumption” (PDF link), a study of how much power is consumed by mobile browsers on popular websites. They hooked up an Android phone and its battery to a rather geeky-looking monitor, and started surfing the mobile web. Even among those sites that offer mobile-optimized versions, there were some serious battery killers in the crowd: Wikipedia, Tumblr, IMDB, and Blogger, among others.
What would really help, the researchers suggest, was if more sites offloaded some of the computation, script-handling, and image scaling to their own servers, rather than asking your phone to handle it. Stanford researchers suggest both front-end proxies (which intercept data from web servers and render them in optimized form for the phone, as on Opera and Skyfire mobile browsers) and back-end servers (which the phone sends data to for processing). And if Google Analytics would allow mobile sites to be cached on the phone, instead of demanding fresh versions on every view for traffic-measuring purposes, that would help a lot, too.