It is quite interesting to see how Qualcomm has emerged as a major player in the “processor market” and is trying to build themselves into a serious consumer brand. I used to think of them as a company doing modems and other chips that made phones talk wirelessly, known to insiders in the business but not anything a user cared about. Today, however, they are working hard on building themselves into a brand to rival Intel and AMD. At the center of this is their own line of ARM-based application processors, the Snapdragon. I can see some thinking quite similar to the old “Intel Inside” classic, and I would not be surprised to see the box or even body of a phone carrying a Snapdragon logo at some point in the future. A part of this branding exercise is the Snapdragon Batteryguru, an application I recently stumbled on in the Google Play store.
Thinking about it, I have seen a surprising amount of advertising for Snapdragon on various gadget and tech websites over the past year. This always struck me as pretty pointless – who cares about what goes inside a device anyway? But given enough persistence, you can quite probably build enough consumer awareness that will make consumers gravitate towards phones with that type of chip inside – just like Intel did in their market war with AMD. As long as the Snapdragon line can keep technically slightly ahead of the rest of the pack, this might actually work quite well. In any case, it is very interesting to see how this plays out. Qualcomm is becoming a very large chip company.
Back to the Batteryguru. Since my Sony Xperia V is based on a Snapdragon, it does run on my current phone.
When you install it, it spends a couple of days learning about my usage habits. Following that, it claims to start saving battery by essentially turning off less important applications and reducing the amount of network polling that goes on. At least that is my understanding. It is not entirely clear what it does or how it does it.
As you can see from the screenshot on the right (reduced in pixel size from the enormous 720×1280 of the actual phone screen), it claims to be doing a lot of work and providing great benefits. Not sure it translates into something noticeable for me, though. One side benefit of the program from Qualcomm’s perspective is clearly that it puts a little persistent Snapdragon logo in the notifications bar in Android. In this way, it keeps the logo and brand in the eye of the user every day, every time the phone is used. Pretty clever trick when you think about it – getting a Snapdragon stamp on the outside it not going to be easy, but an app that puts the brand on the display is nothing anybody can stop. At least if you can get your user base to install it.
It will be interesting to see how this rise of Qualcomm continues, and where its brand ends up in a few years time. I will keep trying to see if the Batteryguru indeed does make a difference, but I do not expect magic to happen.