The best Android apps for boosting battery life

These smart Android power management apps can help you add hours to your smartphone's day

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JuiceDefender's five profiles give you plenty of flexibility and the power to craft your own power management plans.

Android battery savers: JuiceDefender

If Green Power is flexible, JuiceDefender (version 3.8.0) is downright bend-over-backwards-able. JuiceDefender offers more options, more utilities, and more ways to work for you than anything else I've seen. The only drawback is that the free version is extremely limited. To get useful results, you'll need the Plus ($1.99) or Ultimate ($4.99) version, especially if you use Wi-Fi more than you use cellular data.

JuiceDefender has five power moderation profiles available out of the box. Balanced (the default) is exactly what it sounds like: JuiceDefender tries to maximize battery life without making a major impact on your phone's performance. Aggressive kicks in some extra battery-saving measures when power gets low, mainly by disabling connectivity entirely until you get the battery level back up to a certain point. Extreme disables all connectivity by default, requiring you to enable it manually whenever you need it, and toggles it back off again when the screen goes dark and data activity stops.

If you want to customize the settings, you can do that in the Plus and Ultimate editions of the program. In Plus or Ultimate, you can set network timeout intervals, night-mode settings, the battery threshold for total network disconnection, network traffic thresholds for toggling connectivity, and so on. A lot of these options are similar to what Green Power offers, but they're presented a little more elegantly and with better explanation right in the program.

Both Plus and Ultimate give you automated and location-based control over Wi-Fi. Ultimate adds the ability to adjust screen brightness based on ambient lighting and time of day, to control the cell network you're using (2G, 3G, or 4G), and even to scale CPU frequency if your phone ROM supports it. It also allows a higher degree of customization for the various power-saving modes.

JuiceDefender has a veritable catalog of nifty, well-thought-out features. The notification bar for the program, in the Android pull-down notification area, lets you see at a glance, via a row of icons, what is and isn't enabled. Tap the right side of the bar, and you open the Quickbox, which gives you one-touch access to enabling or disabling network connectivity. Another great function is location training for automatic Wi-Fi connectivity, where you can teach the program where your most commonly used Wi-Fi hotspots are, and it will automatically turn on Wi-Fi and connect to them whenever you're in range. This function uses the cell-network triangulation system to gauge your position, so its accuracy may vary depending on the signal quality in your area.

One feature I particularly admire is the periodic-connection schedule, which helped me tame the battery usage for many apps I use. This allows apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to sync up with the network every so often (you determine the interval) without maintaining a constant connection. These apps are one of the biggest reasons I end up with a dead battery in the first place, but I don't like gutting their functionality. Until they begin to tame their own battery-killing behavior, JuiceDefender is a good way to keep them in check.

This article, "The best Android apps for boosting battery life," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in mobile computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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