Trustworthy Systems

An analysis of power consumption in a smartphone


Aaron Carroll and Gernot Heiser



Open Kernel Labs

    Open Kernel Labs, Sydney, Australia


Mobile consumer-electronics devices, especially phones, are powered from batteries which are limited in size and therefore capacity. This implies that managing energy well is paramount in such devices.

Good energy management requires a good understanding of where and how the energy is used. To this end we present a detailed analysis of the power consumption of a recent mobile phone, the Openmoko Neo Freerunner. We measure not only overall system power, but the exact breakdown of power consumption by the device's main hardware components. We present this power breakdown for micro-benchmarks as well as for a number of realistic usage scenarios. These results are validated by overall power measurements of two other devices: the HTC Dream and Google Nexus One.

We develop a power model of the Freerunner device and analyse the energy usage and battery lifetime under a number of usage patterns. We discuss the significance of the power drawn by various components, and identify the most promising areas to focus on for further improvements of power management. We also analyse the energy impact of dynamic voltage and frequency scaling of the device's application processor.

BibTeX Entry

    address          = {Boston, MA, US},
    author           = {Aaron Carroll and Gernot Heiser},
    booktitle        = {USENIX Annual Technical Conference},
    keywords         = {energy management, power management, dvfs, mobile phone},
    month            = jun,
    pages            = {271--284},
    paperurl         = {},
    slides           = {},
    title            = {An analysis of power consumption in a smartphone},
    year             = {2010}