updated 07:40 am EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Battery life gain of 36 percent found in tests compared to Android KitKat
The next version of Android could give a significant increase to the battery life of smartphones and tablets, early testing of the mobile operating system has shown. Project Volta, an attempt by Google to minimize the amount of battery used by apps and Android itself via various internal improvements and new development tools, has been found to help extend one test device's battery life by over a third.
Testing by Ars Technica on the developer preview of Android L on an Nexus 5 found it did extend the battery considerably. When running Android 4.4, also known as KitKat, the test device lasted for 345 minutes when used to constantly load webpages over Wi-Fi. Testing on the same device using Android L brought the battery duration up to 471 minutes, an improvement of 126 minutes or 36 percent.
Project Volta is made up of a number of smaller improvements to Android, as well as new tools for developers. A new Battery Historian tool advises which apps are using up more battery power than others over time, while a new Job Scheduler API lets developers set various tasks to be performed at a later time alongside other tasks, with the batching of jobs saving on power consumption.
Android L also introduces a new Battery Saver mode, similar to efforts included in the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, which limits the screen brightness and lessens the amount of background data used, when the mode is enabled by the user or if the device reaches 15 percent of battery life remaining. While this will extend battery life further when activated, it was not used during the report's testing.