Google mandates OEMs to provide detailed battery drain in Android Marshmallow

Whenever Google provides a new Android update, it’s usually the case that tech reviewers get stars in their eyes about new features and functionality. Android Marshmallow is bringing some new features to Android that are sure to make many users happy, but there’s always a political component. There are things going on behind the scenes to make Android Marshmallow a success. We don’t always get a glimpse into those political, out-of-sight factors, but Marshmallow has introduced them to us and made them more transparent.

Among the new requirements for Android Marshmallow is detailed battery usage and a general sense of transparency about battery drain, that devices “MUST be able to track hardware component power usage” and provide battery stats for individual apps (how much Facebook drains on your Samsung Galaxy S6, for example). Some Android OEMs such as Sony and Samsung have effective battery-saving modes and optimizations that allow you to conserve your battery well, but some Android OEMs (such as LG) don’t. LG hasn’t been the best at battery longevity on its devices, and Apple was once in the same boat – until this year’s iPhone 6s Plus. With Google’s new Doze Mode in Marshmallow, it appears as though Google’s transparency in battery stats on its own Nexus devices is something the search engine giant wants copied across the board for all of Android as a whole.

In days past, Android has become rejected by some iPhone users because of this very problem. For example, usually, when looking at battery stats in, say, Android Lollipop, you’d notice the words “Android System” with a percent number beside it – with few details. In one critique of Android I read a few months ago, a reviewer pointed out that this “Android System” battery drain (with few additional details) is one of the reasons why he left Android for iOS for the first time. He just became too frustrated with seeing his battery run out after a few hours.

Of course, lots of social media notifications, camera use, video playback and heavy gaming could all be the culprit of battery drain apart from battery stats, but it’s nice to see Google require something positive in Android Marshmallow. Even in 2015, honesty is still the best policy.


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