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The misguided obsession with 'Screen On Time' and my hopes for 4.4.3
(sorry for the tome... don't blame you if you tl;dr)
One of the first things that users ask when they go checking a new ROM out is "How's the battery life?" And most of the respondents typically say "I got X hours or SOT (screen on time)!!!!"
One area of Android that I've always been investigating and hashing over is battery consumption.... but I barely focus on SOT because it is one of the things most easily controlled. It is dependent on pretty much two things; kernel processor management and user behavior. How well does the kernel provide the correct processing power for the user's needs, then how quickly does the device then 'race to idle'. Kernel developers spend a lot of time fiddling with things to reach a delicate balance between speed and efficiency.... User behavior being equal, SOT is a good indication as to how well their kernel is designed and how well they've configured it. If you crank down the max freq and use a stingy governor, you'll get a lot more seat time out of a charge...and if you floor that sucker and let her run, well, you'll be on your charger several times a day. But the user has a choice.
I am not a heavy user... working in the software industry, I'm on my laptop for most of the day... My Nexus 5 does it's duty, letting me avoid traffic jams, then it's play... checking my personal email, checking forums, games, finding out what other movie that dude's been in... etc.. while I wind down at night. It amounts to 2, maybe 3 hours a day TOPS. So my phone spends the better part of the day off.... so what it is doing when that screen is off has more bearing on how long I get out of a charge....
And it's when the screen is off that the software (Google Now, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, etc), and not the kernel or the user, is in charge.... all those background processes generating wakelocks... waking the phone, doing its thing, then going back to sleep. For many of us, THAT is the primary power consumer. If a phone draining 5% an hour when off, you could be south of 50% while the day is still young even if you didn't even turn it on to check the time... whereas a 2%/hr (or even less) gives you, the user, a much bigger piece of the pie to play with.
People sometimes only pay attention at their idle power consumption when something goes TOTALLY sideways... like that camera daemon bug.... but bleeding slowly is still bleeding... and I think that Google, in particular, can do the most to improve our experience in this fashion by addressing those wonderful background services.... My god, Google Location Services... Oh, you giveth and you taketh away.... It gives me useful location based info, but MAN, does it like to chug juice. The single most consistent 'drain' on my Nexus is the wakelocks that Location Services calls... oftentimes keeping the phone awake for as long as I had the screen on.
So, long story short, of all the updates in 4.4.3 that people are waiting for, I am most interested in seeing if they've helped me phone sleep more soundly. Because if they have, I, like a parent of a baby who doesn't sleep, will be VERY happy.