Last year while researching network coverage during train travel for Pyka, I did a small hack to log signal strength for a given location. I used it during my trip to Chennai and data was logged using a background process in my Android phone for every kilometer. Incidentally, my onward and return journeys were on different routes. When we visualized using Google Fusion Charts, it was quite telling. There were many dead spots that would be impossible to detect otherwise. During this exercise, my droid had to be fed with constant power to keep it running.
We build products for travel and recently did several interviews with frequent travelers. We repeatedly heard people saying they usually turn off data just to conserve battery life. They were also concerned about running out of juice and becoming unreachable. This sparked an idea to build a public battery profile for people displaying the last known battery status. So, if someone is not reachable, one can find out if it is because of running out of juice.
During last week’s Droidcon India Hack Night, I teamed up with Sandeep and Santhosh to build the basic version. Thanks to Muthuraj for suggesting that we fall back to SMS when the battery is really low, which we’ll add in a future release. In the past few days, the hack got spit and polish from Team Ideophone and it’s now available for download from the Play Store.
The heart of the app is a shareable battery profile. However, as pointed out in this Pluggd.in article, when more and more people start using it, our data will show which Android phones have better battery life in real-life scenarios. While price and feature comparisons of Android devices abound, it’s high time we had battery performance halls of fame and shame! The high point was to know that Sundar‘s Ace had a really low juice retention factor and he wasn’t complaining about anything all these days.