Upgrade your Android tablet (Part 3) - Optimise battery life

4/12/2012 4:11:46 PM

Optimise battery life

Something all manufacturers need to learn from Apple is that to get the best possible device in terms of battery life, you have to get the OS to play as nicely as possible with the hardware. We’ve tried devices with early alpha ports of Android, and due to issues with wireless adaptor drivers, sleep modes, screen drivers and so on, battery life is a couple of hours at best. Compare that with an iPad’s run time of up to 10 hours playing video and a week on standby.

The good news is that these are usually temporary issues, as developers can tweak these problems out. Even so, you may need to disable the wireless to help extend sleep battery life. There are several apps that can help automate these tasks, depending on whether you take the tablet out and about. JuiceDefender is a good option. This comes in a number of free and paid-for options with more features, including location-aware toggles. A simpler option is the free Auto WiFi Toggle, which lets you specify schedules and behaviour for when and how the wireless should be used. Simply turning off a tablet’s wireless adaptor can help extend battery life from a day to almost a week.

Description: A Learn what the biggest battery drain is and cut back on it. Adjust the screens brightness or turn off Wi-Fi when not In use to extend Its life

A Learn what the biggest battery drain is and cut back on it. Adjust the screens brightness or turn off Wi-Fi when not In use to extend Its life

Spotlight on... An aging Android

The number of Android devices can be bewildering, and the number of versions of the Android operating system beyond just the standard releases from Google even more so. Sometimes called fragmentation, it refers to the number of different versions of the Android OS that are available. While it’s often referred to in a negative way, fragmentation is one of Android’s strengths, enabling custom versions and cheaper devices to be released. The low cost comes partly from not bothering to support a device once it’s released. Thanks guys!

The original version of Android are v1.1, v1.5 Cupcake and v1.6 Donut. Incredibly, v1.6 devices were still around even in 2011. We would always strongly recommend against these versions. Android 2.0 Eclair is where things get interesting, with v2.2 Froyo being really the lowest version you want, as it offers many advanced features like Wi-Fi hotspots. Currently 2.3.7 is the latest release of Android v2.3.x Gingerbread, and it includes a lot of optimisations. Android v3.x Honeycomb was rushed out for the original Android tablets, and the source was never released publicly because Google wanted a single build for all devices. That build is codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, also known as Android 4.0. We expect most current devices to get an official or homebrew upgrade - the base specification is effectively any device with 256MB of memory and a suitable.

Description: A Your phone might have looked like this back in the day — say 2009

                             A Your phone might have looked like this back in the day — say 2009

Add the Market to a recently rooted device

Description: Add the Market to a recently rooted device

1.         Capitalism rules

For legal reasons, the Android Market and other Google apps can’t be included in custom builds of Android and must be installed separately. If you haven’t already connected to your wireless network, open a browser and go to www.bit.Iy/9E29YP. This is the Cyanogen Google Apps page. Grab CyanogenMod 7; we imagine CyanogenMod 9 ICS will be there soon too.

Description: Capitalism rules


2.         Reboot disappointment

The Archos system is set to auto-install the Google App zip file you just downloaded after a reboot. This will instigate a fresh installation sequence and sets up the Market. Once this is complete you may notice that not all the apps you’d expect are available. This is a Market glitch that affects emulators and custom builds, but there is sometimes a way around it.

Description: 2.	Reboot disappointment

3.         Market hack

To improve the selection of apps, open “Settings” and select “applications > Manage application>All”. Find the Market, click “Force stop” if availabIe and then “CIear cache” but not “Clear data” turn to the list, Iocate “Gooqe Service Framework” and select “Clear data”, Reboot, then start the market for a wider selection.

  •  Upgrade Android : Archos! Bless you, One step beyond, Custom modes, Flash master & Gingerbread device
  •  CyanogenMod overclocking : Built-in controls, Alright Governor & Custom tools
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  •  iPod Docks
  •  Great Business Apps for Your iPad/iPod/iPhone : Car Butler, List n Do, Magnifying Glass with Light, WorkSnug
  •  Nokia Teams Up With Windows Phone
  •  The future of malware : Social networking, Enterprise targets & Smartphone threats
  •  Useful apps for iPad (Part 2) : Evernote, Wave Accounting & Dataviz Docs To Go
  •  Useful apps for iPad (Part 1) : Bento for iPad & Numbers 1.5 for iPad
  •  Android Market Under Threat From ‘RuFraud’
  •  Memory update to boost mobile devices : Manufacturer backing
  •  Intel Enters Smartphone Market
  •  Take control of your files (Part 2) - View your files on PC
  •  Take control of your files (Part 1) - Stop and drop, Share and share alike
  •  HP: A new Slate in PC market
  •  Cheaper tablets to take on the iPad 2
  •  Showdown: lOS vs Android vs WP7 (Part 2)
  •  Showdown: lOS vs Android vs WP7 (Part 1)
  •  Richard Cobbett: Publish and be damned
  •  Tech patent wars: a lose-lose situation
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