Lucid PowerXtend Software Boosts Android Battery Life While You Game, Surf the Web

Your phone may be using a low-power processor and a high-capacity battery, but it may still be leaving precious hours of endurance on the table every time you perform a graphically-intensive task. Enter Lucid PowerXtend, a suite of Android software that optimizes your CPU, GPU and display to save power in graphics-heavy apps. Several recent Samsung phones and tablets, including the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1, already come with GameXtend, which improves battery life while gaming. This week at CES 2014,the company added to its lineup, introducing WebXtend for web browsing and NavXtend for GPS. 

All three of Lucid's PowerXtend applicaions are installed at the kernel level where they are completely invisible to the user. You can't purchase or install the apps yourself as only the phone vendor can decide whether to add them. Users can't even enable / disable the software. Yet even though they work behind the scenes, Lucid's power-saving programs produce very tangible results, reducing power consumption by 15 to 25 percent while you're gaming, web surfing or getting directions.

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During a brief demo, Lucid attached two Galaxy Note 3 phones -- one with GameXtend and another without it -- to power meters and then ran the popular game Temple Run on them. As we watched, the average power draw from the phone with GameXtend was about 15 percent lower. Lucid performed the same demo on two phones that were scrolling up and down a web page, with approximately the same improvement in power draw. According to Lucid, you can caluclate the additional battery life you get form its software by doubling the percentage of power you saved. So if you can save 25 percent more power, you'll get 50 percent more battery life. 

You might expect Google to build the best possible power management into the Android OS, but Lucid's technoloy shows there is still plenty of room for improvement. Contextually aware, the PowerXtend software only activates when it detects that you are running a game, web browser or navigation app, because it knows how to optimize the CPU and GPU clock speed and sleep state for those activities. 

Lucid VP Offir Remez explained that the software is particularly good at saving power when playing videos that are embedded in web pages. Since web videos typically play at 24 frames-per-second and the phone's screen updates at a 60 Hz, there's an opportunity to send less data to the display panel and let the video chip do less work.

Improving battery life while gaming is useful, but allowing people to save juice while web surfing is even more important. We look forward to seeing more devices ship with Lucid's PowerXtend technology this year while WebXtend and NavExtend roll out sometime in the second half.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.