by Paul Sandle
LONDON (Reuters) – Vodafone is working with Google to extend a smartwatch’s battery life by reducing the “talk” between the device and the wireless data network, more power consumption than screen brightness. and other settings targeting low-power modes.
The British mobile phone group has developed an API (application programming interface) that allows apps and operating systems, such as Google’s Wear OS and Android, to reconfigure the way they communicate with its network, said the director of architecture. of Vodafone’s network, Santiago Tenorio.
“With wearables such as smartwatches and other gadgets, battery life is incredibly important to our users,” the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday.
“That’s why Vodafone and Google’s Android team are collaborating to optimize battery life in Wear OS by Google watches.”
Changes such as making the clock connect to the network intermittently instead of constantly using it and freeing up the transmission channel more quickly were tested, Tenorio said.
Given the small battery size in smartwatches, changing these parameters could extend the life of the device “very significantly,” he said.
There was a cost in performance, but the API can save enough power for the device to run until the end of a long run, he added.
The technology stems from Vodafone’s involvement in a 2017 project with elite marathon runner Kenenisa Bekele to break the two-hour marathon barrier.
The amount of data transmitted by the sensors in the attempt drained the smartwatch’s battery in less than an hour, Tenorio said.
“Bekele was fast, but not that fast,” he said. “In a couple of years, we were able to extend the (battery) life to three and a half hours.”
The technology could be available on Wear OS in the coming months, he said, adding that “many more” wearable device partners are interested in the API.