One of the major improvements found in Android M and highlighted during Google’s I/O developer conference was two new features meant to significantly increase standby times of smartphones running the OS over previous versions, and now we have some more numbers that should make the differences concrete.
For the uninitiated, the two new features meant to tackle battery life are Doze and App Standby. Doze uses what Google calls “significant” motion detection to determine when a device has been left unattended for an extended period of time, and when it does find that your device is idle, backs off background activity (like apps syncing data) to go into a deeper state of sleep and drink less power in standby.
App Standby, on the other hand, cuts off network activity and any other background processes of apps that are deemed to be inactive, and only gives these back when the phone is reconnected to power or when the app is relaunched.
With that out of the way, we already know from Google’s Android VP of Engineering Dave Burke telling us onstage that the company has found devices to last 2x longer on average in standby when running Android M versus Lollipop. But we didn’t get much more than that to chew on at the time, and sometimes companies can be generous with battery life estimates. Recently, however, German blog ComputerBase released the results of their own side-by-side testing between two Nexus 5 units – one running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and the other Android M – and what they found looks good.
After 8 hours of standby, the Nexus 5 running 5.1.1 had drained 4% of its battery while the unit running Android M Developer Preview 1 had lost only 1.5% of its battery life. At 24 hours in standby, the 5.1.1 unit had lost 12% while the Android M unit had drained only 4.5%. Most exciting is that whereas after 48 hours of idling the 5.1.1 unit was down 24%, the Android M Nexus 5 had only lost 9% of its charge.
The projected total standby time of the Nexus 5 on Android M is a whopping 533 hours compared to 200 hours running Lollipop. And keep in mind that these battery performance results are for a device that was launched back in 2013 – battery life is a major factor in many consumers decision of which smartphone to buy, and as a result the batteries contained within have only continued to get larger and larger. It should be noted, however, that Android M is still in developer preview and still being worked on by Google, so these results could even get better by the time of a consumer release. They’re very exciting either way, though.