Sanjay Jha: Blame Poor Apps for Poor Battery Life, Blur Could Fix That


Oh, boy. In a conversation where the topic steered on over to poor battery life in phones, Sanjay Jha says apps in the Android market who aren’t written properly are to blame. He claims that 30%-40% of a users’ quick battery drain is due to third-party applications from the Android market, suggesting users need to cut down on apps or closely consider what they’re installing.

He says Blur can, in the future, warn users about specific applications which can have a large impact on battery drain. As I don’t know the ins and outs of Blur, I can’t say for certain that Blur and other custom user interfaces cause battery life and, in some cases, poor device performance. But I do know that people see vast improvements in both these areas when using custom ROMs that strip out all of the fluff that users feel shouldn’t be there.

It reminds me of the Carrier IQ debacle with Sprint’s Samsung (and possibly other OEMs) phones. ROM developers of the Samsung Epic 4G discovered Carrier IQ’s presence in the phone, but they didn’t want to believe that all they collected were metrics in order to gather and report trends for carriers. No, they sat much deeper within the underlying operating system with code that can read your SMS and MMS messages, browsing sessions, battery change notifications, every XML file and every stroke on the device’s physical keyboard.

It records which applications you use, which type they are, and how long you use them. And even every touch on the device’s touch screen is recorded. The only positive note to take out of all of that is that Carrier IQ doesn’t actually store any of this information in its log files, meaning they aren’t technically collecting the data.

Privacy concerns aside (this is about battery life, after all) k0nane – the famed developer of Android Creative Syndicate who uncovered this stuff – found that removing it actually improved battery life and system performance greatly. Being a user of a Samsung Epic 4G myself using a ROM with CIQ disabled, I can say that this is absolutely true.

Who’s to say whatever Motorola is injecting into BLUR isn’t to blame for poor battery life? Or HTC for Sense? And Samsung for TouchWiz? I don’t think it’s right to blame third party applications for poor battery life and system performance without much proof or any scientific evidence. Whether or not it’s true I can’t say, but I definitely won’t believe that carrier and OEM customizations have absolutely nothing to do with it. [Engadget]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Seems like Motorola just likes to make up excuses at this point

    1. Yeah he forgot to mention that Motoblur slows down the Tegra 2 in the Atrix. Silly CEO’s, they will never learn (about their own products).

      1. Oh hi Mr. WP7 troll from Engadget. Also no Android itself doesn’t slow down Tegra 2, it is the buggy skins that do. Honeycomb is the only version of Android that supports 2 cores according to Google and my Asus Transformer isn’t laggy at all. 

        How does it feel to know that every 4 days Android sells what it took WP7 6 month to do.

        1. So .5% of the rooted Android phones out there add up to 400,000 new activations a day, LMFAO you loser.

        2. LMAO you don’t give a damn about sources and you know it so I’m not going to waste my time on you like I have in the past.

    2. @Quentyn Take this guy out quick. He has been banned over 100 times from Engadget and all his comments are like this.

      1. FACT: your a WP7 douche bag.

      2. Please tell me more about Windows Phones 7 Phones.

    3. ofc wp7 lasts longer…all dumbphones last longer when they have no fancy capabilities……Its not about how long it lasts, its about what you can accomplish in that time…and with android you can accomplish a LOT more than wPOS7

    4.  Windows Phone 7 is still in existence? I’ve never actually SEEN one, so I’m not sure. Living in a tiny city like Dallas, I guess it’s popularity just blew past us or something… Too many people using phones that actually do things instead…

    5. 1.5 days for win 7 phones? is the phone off for 23 hours?? seriously, my boss has a win7 phone and has to charge it at least 3 times a day.  with the original mytouch my atrix I have to charge them once every other day when i use them heavy, and once a week when i am rarely on them.

    6. I would love to see some evidence to support your claims. Iphone and especially wp7 doesn’t last anywhere near that long unless you aren’t doing anything with your phone. And yes I had an iphone and have friends who have wp7 phones.

  2. When I had my OG Droid, and had all the apps installed, the battery was great. Got a Droid X and installed the same apps battery drained faster. So I did a factory reset without installing any of those apps, and battery drained just as fast. I really think it is their Blur that causing the battery draining. I have the same apps installed on my DC with TW, I have to either swap out batteries or charge the phone. Installed launcher pro and I can last ~13 hours on 4G.

    So OEM’s please quit installing your UI on android phones, or give us the option either stock launcher or your UI.

    1. Why did you changed legendary droid to blurred DX?

  3. Of course he is going to say that that way he can justify sticking blur on all of their products.

  4. a friend of mine bought a moto defy. he’s a heavy internet user with an unlimited data package. yet, it shows that blur is 50% of ALL the internet activity on his phone. he doesn’t even use the blur features.

    1. There is Cyanogenmod 7 ported on defy now – stock android 2.3, tell your friend.

      1. nice! though i’m not sure if he’s ready for a factory reset, but i’ll let him know.

  5. Yeah Blur will save the day. When they can make the Facebook integration
    not sync all of your Facebook friends to the point of using a gig of
    data per day.  Give me a break Jha and give my Droid2 Gingerbread.

  6. I read over someones shoulder on a airplane what looked like investor information from motorola. The report was discussing their mobile phone platform and that they were concerned that reviewers and customers viewed the blur additions negatively. It was concerned that they would be unable to build brand recognition or something to diffrentiate them from other android devices. It was interesting and they actually seemed to have a pretty clear idea of what was going on. Not that it seems to having any affect on their strategy.

    1. They could differentiate themselves by having Vanilla android.  They could be the “with google” company.  That would differentiate them from the sense, Wiz, and LG ui’s of the world.  

  7. I can’t say that I have any technical expertise about android programming. But, it wouldn’t surprise me a damn bit if what I just read above was true. I know that chronologically, android is still in its infancy and things should and could get better from here. Battery life should be one of the priorities when developing UI’s, hardware, firmware and/or software. Android has already overtaken the IOS platform in such a short time. It would be a damn shame if apps and battery life issues would be androids downfall.

    1. “Battery life should be one of the priorities when developing UI’s, hardware, firmware and/or software.”

      Particularly hardware. The phones are light and thin enough by a wide margin. Give me a bigger battery, and all power-drain problems are solved.

  8. Blur blows… that is all.

  9. lmao blur is absolutely the worst custom OEM concoction. I’d take HTC Sense any day over Blur, but I’d still rather poke my eyes out with a soldering iron before switching to either. LONG LIVE AOSP!

  10. I find it funny that having stock Android is viewed as not being different when virtually every manufacturer is putting their own tweaks on Android; therefore, putting vanilla on a phone and allowing it to have awesome battery life is not seen as an option. Separate your phone and company by being pure and easy to mod!

    1. WTF are you talking about? 
      My Nexus 1 NEVER had good battery life despite putting new batteries in. 
      Get a clue dude. 

      1. My Nexus S has great battery life, so that can’t be said about all nexus/stock phones.

  11. You’re not Steve Jobs Sanjay. You can’t blame everybody else for your lousy software and get away with it.

  12. Wow what a load of BS. Extra layers of UI garbage are not going to solve the problem, they are part of it.

  13. Don’t forget, everyone. He also blamed Android apps as the reason most people were returning their devices after purchasing. This guy is a real piece of work…

    1. Do you have any data to suggest he’s wrong? 

      1. Do you (or Sanjay) have an data to suggest he’s right? If I bought a Windows computer and downloaded a program, say iTunes, would I really be returning the WHOLE COMPUTER just because iTunes isn’t working? That’s essentially what Sanjay here is saying, and that’s flat out wrong. The only times I’ve returned my phone was because there were hardware/OS problems (i.e. GPS or data not working), not because Angry Birds doesn’t work.

        1. That’s not how debate works, amigo.

          Christopher was the one who essentially accused Mr. Jha of the false statement. The onus is on him (Christopher) to provide the necessary evidence to back up his accusation. 

          Also, I didn’t pick sides, so don’t look at me for the data.

          And finally, your personal story regarding the reasons behind returning Android devices doesn’t mean jack shit. Come with a better argument, or stay out of it.

          1. So, whoever makes the first statement gets away easy? That’s not how debates work amigo. If you are making a statement, that hasn’t been proved to be true, it’s up to you to back it up, not the person who calls you (not wakkoman) an idiot.

          2. Not really. All I’m saying is if you are going to accuse him of being wrong, you need to present the evidence as to why you believe that to be true. He just made a statement. It could be right, or it could be wrong. He doesn’t have to bring any facts to the table, because it is just a statement. The responsibility falls on the person who wants to discredit his statement.

          3. @wakkoman:disqus 
            go study logic, my friend.  Sanjay is the one who posited a position without validation.  It is entirely his responsibility to provide proof of his contention, not ours to disprove. That’s the way the game is played.  It is ours to provide possible alternatives to disprove his contention, which he has not proven or provided proof for.  

            His position does not even meet face validity, that is, it does not even seem reasonable to those who know or have experience with the system.

            It is not our job to disprove santa claus’ existence, it is his to prove it.

          4. @individual11  There’s a sizable credibility difference between the CEO of a multinational corporation and a random forum poster.  The former typically speaks from data while the latter out of his ass. 

            Th onus of proof falls to the least credible source. 

          5. How much more false can you be in asserting that “bad apps” are the biggest reason for the return of phones? Just because Angry Birds drains my battery to hell doesn’t mean I’m going to return my phone (especially since I had to root my phone to be able to play the game). If I’m going to return my phone, it won’t be because “I can’t play [insert game here].” It’ll be because the phone is doing something really screwy or its not working like it should. Please, you picked sides the moment you started typing, heck, so did I. It’s a little something called opinion. My “personal story” wasn’t that. It was a hypothetic situation. There’s a difference. It perfectly described the circumstances that Mr. Sanjay was stating. I don’t like how an app or program is performing on my phone/computer, so I return the whole device? How does that make any sense?

          6. They get reasons for returns.  Presumably many of the reasons given are, “poor battery performance”.  And they (at least spot) test returns.  If the complaint doesn’t match the actual performance… 

            Also worth noting that just because you can’t imagine how something could be so doesn’t mean it can’t be so.  It could there there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio. 

            Or maybe you just have a weak imagination.

          7. @TalkingMoose:disqus So just because the reason for the return is “bad battery life” absolutely means that the “bad apps” are to blame? What about Motoblur? What about 4G radios being on when there isn’t any service? What about bad management of the so called “bad apps”? Those can’t possibly be reasons for “poor battery performance” too? I’ve heard cases where experienced users physically opened their phones and found wires connecting the antenna to the phone not properly attached (usually involving bad radio reception). In that case, the phone boosts the signal to compensate. That doesn’t drain battery? There are many more reasons for “poor battery performance” than just “bad apps”.

          8. You don’t think Motorola benchmarks battery performance before they release a phone?  They don’t just build it and schlep it over to the stores.  Performance, especially battery performance, is a huge deal.  And yes, they benchmark with blur in place.  So if you take a phone whose battery performance sucks, strip out the after-market apps and suddenly the battery performance is good…

            It should also be noted that app developers typically don’t do battery performance benchmarks.  Sure, they’ll tweak things if customers complain, but how many actually measure the effect their apps have on batter life?  How many could tell you how much additional power they consume?  App developers are usually more concerned with “wow” factor than resources. 

            As for how a user will return a phone is an app is chewing up performance?  Most users don’t differentiate between the app and the phone.  They have no idea how computers work.  You just put software on and it does stuff.  Oh, the phone isn’t doing it well.  Must be the phone because an app is just an app to them.

          9. “Christopher was the one who essentially accused Mr. Jha of the false statement.”
            There is a wide chasm of difference between a false statement and a ridiculous statement. When someone makes a false statement, I’m usually tempted to correct them. When someone (like Sanjay has) says something completely ridiculous, it’s not even worth doing the research to tell him he’s wrong.

            In this case, I just think much, much less of his company.

          10. Ridiculous why?  Your own opinion?  What merit is your opinion?  We know Sanjay’s credentials.  What are yours? 

        2. 1. You spelled “harrassment” wrong. It should be “harassment”. If you’re going to insult me, try spelling everything right first. 2. It isn’t “harassment” it’s called a logical argument. Something you can never ever hope to attain. 3. “WHY can’t you just post your comment and keep it moving” Ummmm that’s what I did. I posted a comment. Actually, I posted a completely theoretical and factual comment. Nowhere in that comment did I express any opinion. I stated what I’d do, not what I’d think or feel. Come back when you know the difference between facts, theories, and opinions.

        3. In addition to my third point, the whole purpose of the Disqus service is to DISCUSS things. You know, where 2 or more people talk, converse, or debate about things? Hence the name Disqus (which I believe to be pronounced the same as the word “discuss” just with slightly different emphasis on certain vowels/consonants). What’s the point of making a comment on a service like this and never seeing any of the responses? That’s right, there is none. You might as well be talking to the air.

          1. Squiddy, it is patently obvious that he is a deranged lunatic. He cost his benefactors just under $60,000 a year in donations, was very proud of that fact, and, as he has stated himself, he only posts comments to “stoke the fires”,( to use his own words). Haven’t you noticed that his comments are on-par with that of an immature 4-year-old? He can’t even form a proper sentence. The only thing he has in life is his phone, which he has only owned for one year, on one carrier, and likes to think he is an expert on Android. When, in fact, he doesn’t even know how to use his own EVO properly. You seem like an intelligent individual – just leave the nutcase alone with his phone. The threads are getting destroyed by him posting his mindless nonsense and, just as bad, people who feel the need to respond to everything he posts. You know that is exactly what he wants, yes? There is a saying that is a lot older than many who use the internet would think; “Don’t feed the trolls”.

      2. Misplaced burden of proof. Jha declared that Android apps are the reason most people return their device. He needs to prove that first, as the burden of proof should be on him, not us who disagree with him.

  14. Did Quentin read the article he’s repeating?  He goes on and on about how blur affects battery life, but Sanjay’s comment states that he believes that blur can improve battery life

    1. Quentin’s making the point that everyone else is thinking…that Sanjay is talking out of his a** by saying that Blur isn’t the problem, and that apps are.

    2. “Sanjay’s comment states that he believes that blur can improve battery life”

      Read Sanjays’ statement again. At no time does he suggest that Blur isn’t causing a problem RIGHT NOW.  All he says says is that Blur MIGHT be able to alleviate the problem at some point in the (distant?) future.

      It’s called dissembling, and is a common technique of CEOs whose companies produce a sub-par product.

  15. Bad Apps can cause the Crapps.

  16. yea..i had the original cliq…it had horrible battery life..then i disabled blur..and my battery life improved…must be really bad apps..damn blur!

  17. its applications that go online and use 3g signal that suck the most battery life.   ive used apps for hours and barely lost 10%   but as soon as an app calls home or starts using the internet the battery is sucked dry.

  18. Blur totally sucks.

    Motorola needs to stop locking their bootloaders.

  19. As an ashamed owner of an original Motorola Cliq (I’m waiting for the EVO 3D to upgrade/switch), I can tell you that blur is atrocious.  I cannot say enough bad about it; truly.  Without question, it is a resource hog (which, in turn, leads to it being a battery hog), not to mention clunky, ugly, and aggravating.  I was also appalled at Motorola’s lack of support.  Ultimately, it was my fault for buying it of course, but I promise, I will never, ever buy another Motorola phone as long as I live (not that they care; they’ve proven they don’t care about their customers, in my opinion).  Having owned this phone for well over a year, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t wish I had my G1 back.

  20. You’re misrepresenting what the dude said.  

    He said 30-40% of quick battery drain was due to people installing crummy apps.  That would still leave 60-70% unexplained.  You’re acting like he said Motoblur had nothing to do with battery drain; he didn’t.

  21. My DX had shit battery life out of the box, with factory-installed apps.  Who the hell is Jha kidding???

  22. I do development on milestone in uk and have run analyzers on the data stream. Out of the box there is such a lot of traffic, even if you don’t sign up to any of motorola services.

    They do, however allow the phone to go to sleep nicely.

  23. well he’s right in that there are apps on the market that can suck battery power.  A lot of the task manager programs specially with the widget can put a dent in battery life. I think it is quite important to look at apps that drain battery life.  Course saying blur doesn’t hurt battery life is silly.  There’s a ton of push going on.  I used blur for a while when I got my original Cliq, and I didn’t really think battery was THAT bad on 1.5.  Granted the scaling options on the original stock, and on the update were not all that well implimented.  Personally getting root just so you can underclock and scale with SetCPU, is worth it.  I wish more manufacturers would look at underclock scaling more to extend battery life, and less playing the blame game.  Its obvious, that the bigger the processor the more battery drain.  And it seems silly to use even 1ghz of power short of more intensive things like gaming or what not.

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