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Carat to the rescue — new app aims to put mobile battery woes to bed

If you ever find yourself bewildered, baffled or even slightly befuddled as to exactly why your smartphone battery seems to lose juice faster than an OJ carton with a large hole in the bottom, a new app by the name of Carat may be able to help.

Created by a team of MS and PhD scientists from UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines and People Laboratory (AMP Lab), the free iOS and Android app aims to assist by generating personalized recommendations for improving the life of the battery inside your mobile device.

Carat differs from other battery-life apps in that it works with data from a huge community of mobile devices whereas others tend to offer generic, rather obvious recommendations.

Hogs and bugs

After installing the app, you first need to give permission for it to track how you use your device and what apps you open (don’t worry, no personal details are ever taken). AMP Lab’s computers then compare your data with that of other users and within a week you’ll be told:

- which apps on your device are using a lot of battery power (the hogs)

- and which apps are using a lot of power on your device, but not on other people’s (the bugs)

“Being a hog or a bug does not make an app bad,” the team says in its description for the app, “but a user trying to improve their battery life can use these designations to adjust their behavior.”

In a post on AMP Lab’s blog published Thursday, team member Adam Oliner wrote, “Using data from our beta deployments, we have already identified thousands of energy bugs manifesting in the wild.”

He continued, “Some of these bugs caused afflicted users to see battery life that was shorter by hours, even compared to other users of the same app (but where the bug did not trigger). Users were told what misbehavior Carat found on their devices and how to fix it, such as by restarting the app or upgrading the OS.”

Decisions, decisions

So based on the information you receive from AMP Lab, you can decide how often and when to use certain apps (if, say, your battery is low and you need to prioritize), whether you should restart them or, if they’re more trouble than they’re worth, whether you’re better off ditching them altogether.

A particularly cool feature is that it can tell you by how many minutes your battery life will improve if you take the action that AMP Lab recommends.

It also offers ‘detail views’ that allow you to pore over graphs of energy use (if that’s what you like to do) and presents you with a so-called ‘J-score’ that lets you compare your battery efficiency to that of other users.

If it sounds appealing, try it out and let us know how you get on. And just in case you’re wondering, its creators say Carat hardly uses any juice at all.

[via TechCrunch]