Degradation of battery life over time is something you can observe on any smartphone, but there are ways to improve your battery life and make sure you’re getting the best possible life out of the capacity you have to work with.
To help you better predict how your battery will perform throughout the day, Google is adding a new ‘smart battery’ feature to Pixel devices. Google is using machine learning to improve the accuracy and credibility of its battery-life predictions on the Pixel.
“Previously, your phone would estimate your battery loss with simple assumptions. If you’ve used about 10% per hour over the past few hours, we would guess you will keep using 10% per hour. As you might expect, this wasn’t always very accurate,” wrote a product manager called Michelle from Google’s NYC office.
To improve accuracy, Google has created an ‘on-device model’ that analyzes each device’s battery usage over time to build an understanding of patterns of usage on similar days and times. That way it can personalize predictions based on how an individual uses the phone, factoring frequent and predictable usage spikes such as might be observable if that person likes watching Netflix or YouTube during the daily commute home.
The Battery section in Settings displays both the percentage of battery life remaining and an estimate of how many hours and minutes this translates to, based on the model’s analysis of usage patterns.
Long-pressing the Battery icon displays ‘Advanced battery usage’, which shows a graph of estimated battery life, including the number of hours since it was fully charged and hours before the battery will be fully depleted.
The graph will also reflect how Google’s model predicts high and low usage as seen in steeper and flatter portions of the graph.
According to the Google Product Forums announcement post, this feature is already rolling out to users and will likely become a standard feature for all Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL owners when the stable version of Android 8.1 rolls out.
If you own one of these devices and you’re currently running the latest Android 8.1 Developer Preview on it, then have a look at the battery settings to see if the renewed battery life estimate is there.
It’s not clear if it will make its way to the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P, but we can always remain optimistic. This is definitely a minor change, but it’s a really handy one. Let us know how you like these changes!