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New Subconscious Smartphone Mode Could Improve Battery Life

You've probably read some variation of this complaint a bazillion times on our site and in our mag: The power and speed of dual-core smartphones comes at a cost—shorter battery life. But the WSJ is reporting a new experiment that could boost your phone's battery life by almost 50 percent.

Kang Shin, a computer science and engineering professor at the University of Michigan, and doctoral student Xinyu Zhang have conceptualized a so-called "subconscious mode" that slows down the Wi-Fi card and reduces energy consumption. The scientists dubbed this technology E-MiLi, for Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening.

Though the Wi-Fi card would be slowed down to 1/16 of its normal speed, it would still be able to listen for incoming messages. But for this to be possible, smartphones would require new firmware so incoming messages would be detectable. Shin and Zhang have prepared the firmware; now it just needs to make its way into mainstream Wi-Fi chipsets. Once (and if) that happens, it's a win-win situation, with the result being 44 percent less energy consumption (and a longer life for your handset).

via the Wall Street Journal