Friday , February 16 2018

New “Smart Battery” feature to Google Pixel phones to give better battery life predictions

It’s our number one cause of smartphone anxiety — battery life, and the risk that it might just run out before we expect it to. Having the best phone in the world, which we might do with Pixel handsets, means nought if you’re caught out with a flat battery. To avoid precisely this, Google is implementing a new Smart Battery feature, and all Pixel devices are about to receive it.

The simply-named Smart Battery feature is designed to give users a better, more accurate and realistic expectation of how their battery will last throughout the day. Before now, Android’s battery chart was little more than a guess:

Previously, your phone would estimate your battery loss with simple assumptions. If you’ve used about 10% per hour over the past few hours, we would guess you will keep using 10% per hour. As you might expect, this wasn’t always very accurate.

With Smart Battery, that prediction will be informed by your usage habits using an on-device model of when you use your phone throughout the day, what you use it for, and most importantly, how those different activities affect battery life.

As you can see in Google’s modelling below, the battery usage chart with Smart Battery isn’t just a linear progression anymore. Instead, it gives a more realistic curve with changes, to more accurately reflect what your typical usage looks like:

It may only be a relatively small change, to a part of Android that we don’t necessarily look at every day. However, it’s a welcome improvement, meaning that the Pixel range should be able to give users a more accurate idea of when their phones will run flat, based on typical usage.

Google says that this feature is live already, so grab your Pixel or Pixel 2 device and see if your phone has been learning about your usage.

Source: Google Support Forum

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag. He saw the transition from AMPS to GSM, loved the Motorola StarTac, and got into Palm technologies in a big way. The arrival some years later of the original iPhone, and then the early Androids, awoke a new interest in mobile technology, and Chris has been writing about it since.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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1 Comment on "New “Smart Battery” feature to Google Pixel phones to give better battery life predictions"

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Allan Thomas
Valued Guest
Allan Thomas

Hi Chris,
Just had a look on my Pixel 2 XL; it’s there. I’m astonished at the battery life of this phone. It smashes every other phone I’ve had out of the park.

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