Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Y5 - Watching Your Battery While Watching Your Back

As I become more and more enamored of the Android OS, I find myself looking at apps designed for it and wondering "why not me?".  As most of you know, I'm currently using a Palm Pre and am none too happy with it at this point in time.  When I came across the info on Y5 Battery Saver it had a double impact on me.  The first was that it's another example of innovation from the app developers of both iPhone and Droid platforms.  Palm was supposed to have a thriving app store, but it never really got off the ground and now I really don't notice much innovation at all.
The second thing was how this innovation for Droid actually helps battery life. My Pre's battery life is definitely nothing to be proud of and part of that is due to WiFi.  The phone is constantly looking for a signal no matter where I am.  Now, I understand how that works.  I have great WiFi coverage in my house and in my office.  Because of that I want my phone to be able to access that connection and utilize it.  So in order to do that, I have the WiFi on at all times.  When I come in range, it connects automatically.
Of course the downside is that whenever I'm not in my home or my office, the device is wasting valuable battery life sniffing the air for a WiFi connection.  The Pre battery life is short anyway and adding that task to the mix just burns through it even faster.  So, the green eyed monster reared its ugly head when I saw this program for the Droid.  In MY world, I'm manually turning off WiFi to save battery and then trying to remember to turn it back on when I'm in range of a good and trusted signal.
The free Y5 Battery Save App basically keeps an eye on your WiFi pays attention when you connect to a hotspot.  It uses cellular signal triangulation to figure out your location (not GPS) and remembers where the hotspot is located.  It then tracks you and as you move away from that area, it turns the wireless function of your phone off to save the battery.  From time to time it will check your location using triangulation and if you are in an area where you've connected via WiFi before, it will turn on the WiFi function and your phone will connect to the network.  All of this happens with no user input at all!


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  2. John,

    Are you on sprint? I got a Palm Pre when they came out, and while it served me well, after a year or so I started to feel like it couldn't compete with the latest crop of android phones.

    When my contract allowed me to re-up and get a new phone, I broke down and get an HTC EVO and I have been loving it. WebOS does a lot of things more gracefully than android (notifications and managing multiple open applications come to mind), there is a lot more developer momentum behind android, and the newest hardware is really amazing.

    I think it's highly plausible that I'll end up getting a WebOS 2.0 phone or tablet down the road, but the EVO is doing great for right now.