Qualcomm: Hardware alone won't solve the smartphone battery problem

But there's hope

Qualcomm has warned that device manufacturers and OS makers hold the near-term key to improving handset battery life.

Smartphones are getting smarter every day but many are still struggling to power their myriad apps and technological know-how for more than a day at a time.

And we can't rely on batteries themselves to advance enough to change this, the chipmaker said.

"Battery technology isn't advancing at the same rate as the thirst for tech [on mobile devices]." Steve Mollenkopf, president and COO of Qualcomm told attendees of Innovation Qualcomm 2012 in Berlin.

"I haven't seen anything on the horizon that solves that gap in the near term."

What's the plan, Stan?

"We're working on low power and integration itself with the smallest possible footprint, so anything that's not chipset becomes battery," he said.

"We have teams working on squeezing the chipset down to smallest area so we can trade it off for more battery."

But there is hope; Rob Chandhok, Qualcomm's senior vice president of software, added, "We talk a lot about how we design the GPU and CPU, but we take a multi-tier approach to power management.

"A lot of apps aren't designed with an understanding of what's 'expensive' in terms of mobile, what it will cost in power. So we're looking into machine learning and other types of techniques to offset this.

"For example, on Windows 8 there's connected standby that lets the OS work with apps to put the device in a state where it knows that to save power it just wakes up all apps in concert, they all update at once, and then all go back to sleep; and that will save you power. But it has to be dealt with at OEM and software maker level.

"A combination of those tweaks and intelligent hardware will mean we'll start to see improvement in battery life."

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