Imagination wants companies to focus on power management

2013 Mobile World Congress. (AFP PHOTO/JOSEP LAGO)

2013 Mobile World Congress. (AFP PHOTO/JOSEP LAGO)

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, Last Updated: 10:31 PM ET

Multimedia and processor company Imagination is worried that too many products are focused on performance benchmarks rather than battery life and heat exchange.

Manufacturers are too quick to promote the processing power and performance speeds of their notebooks, smartphones and tablets and are guilty of overlooking one of the most important real-world considerations for mobile devices -- how long they can survive between charges. Speaking at the first day of the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Tony King-Smith, EVP marketing, Imagination said: "The industry needs a call to action to acknowledge the realities of low power and thermal requirements in end user products running real software, not development boards just running benchmarks. Everyone talks about the importance of power management, and that's an area where the best in the industry have really drawn ahead of the pack by adopting technologies and developing design approaches that support sophisticated power management in SoCs" [system on a chip].

King-Smith is concerned that current benchmarks used for rating and testing products all too often overlook this factor. "[Benchmarks] rarely take account of power use even though this is a key factor in all modern designs. We are working closely with the benchmarking industry to address this in future benchmarks and are encouraging everyone in the industry to take into account power under real end product operating conditions when considering performance metrics," he continued.

As smartphones in particular become more and more ingrained in modern life, battery stamina is going to take on even greater significance, especially if, as Google, MasterCard, Square and a host of other companies hope, the handsets will soon replace traditional payment methods. When wireless payments become mainstream, running out of battery power will mean running out of money.

In recent battery benchmark tests performed by Which? Magazine, the iPad and iPad Mini outperformed all of their competitors in terms of performance between charges. The iPad managed 811 minutes of web browsing via wi-fi on a single charge compared with 534 minutes for the Sony Xperia S, while the iPad Mini managed 783 minutes -- three hours more than the second-placed Amazon Kindle Fire.

In the smartphone category, the Samsung Galaxy SIII was the best performer, managing almost six hours of browsing via a 3G connection, compared with a mere 200 minutes (just over three hours) for the iPhone 5.


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