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Improving Phones Through Surveillance


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A cell-phone application that logs everything the phone's user does--from sending e-mail to playing games--may not sound so desirable. But researchers are deploying the software to see if they can determine the best ways to improve the battery life of phones and uncover network dead spots.

Working with colleagues at Microsoft Research, Hossein Falaki, a PhD candidate at UCLA's Center for Embedded Network Sensing, has developed software that records data use, phone use, and battery-charge levels. The software is designed to run on devices that use Windows Mobile or the Android operating system. The Android version can also track the data sent and received by individual applications.

"One major problem we all experience with smart phones is that the batteries don't last long enough," says Falaki, who will present a paper next month at the Internet Measurement Conference in Melbourne, Australia, on more than 2,000 days of data collected from eight Windows Mobile and 35 Android users. "By studying how people use [the phones], we can find ways to match devices and networks to people."

From Technology Review
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