Microsoft Research doesn't want you to plug your phone in for a week

Microsoft Research is looking into white space frequencies, that we already know from an exploration venture kicked off by UK telecommunication regulator Ofcom. So what exactly are white spaces? Just in case you're confused thus far, they're essentially parts of the frequency band that aren't actively being used by digital TV or wireless systems. Making use of airwaves that are currently unused would open up new possibilities for a number of applications, which participating organisations are collaborating to work towards perfecting.

In the US, Microsoft Research has been working on white space exploration for some time now. The team has been able to install a chip on devices (including smartphones) to take full advantage of free parts of the spectrum available. Wireless data usage is increasing globally with more and more hardware connecting to the Internet. White space can even provide quicker access speeds for devices compared to standard wireless networks you use at home and work today (2GHz and 5GHz).

The Xbox team actually utilises a wireless protocol that helps deliver high throughput and low latency – essential for online gaming.

"This was a challenging twist aimed at scenarios where the gaming device shares spectrum with other home Wi-Fi devices. Each of these devices contends for wireless bandwidth, resulting in collisions and retransmissions. This may be undetectable for some applications, but in gaming, every touch or action must be transmitted within a finite amount of time. A delayed response time degrades the user experience."

To address this problem, a protocol was designed that prioritizes gaming traffic in a way that gives it a higher chance of getting delivered within a specified period of time without affecting the experience of other devices in the home.​ Ranveer Chandra from Microsoft Research took some time to talk about why they're looking into white space, how it can be useful for consumers and what the company has been able to achieve thus far.

It's interesting because the team at Microsoft Research has a number of challenges that have to be addressed. Since 2010, increasing battery life has been among these challenges (actually, you could say it's an ambitious mission), leading the team to investigate in new types of battery, how the operating system can improve efficiency, as well as installed apps and games. Then you have radio usage – think about syncing emails while the screen is turned off. As an example, the radio turns on, email is processed with the CPU and even after everything has completed, the radio remains turned 'on' for some time.

They're looking at numerous aspects of reducing energy usage in mobile hardware both internally and externally. I strongly urge you to head on over to the Microsoft Research website (link below) and read through the published article for more details – ​it's interesting stuff.

Source: Microsoft Research (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Maybe I'm really bad at reading this evening but can somebody tell me what the subject matter has to do with the title of this article? I read through this looking for why I should not plug my phone in for a week lol Somebody please point me to the appropriate paragraph
  • Lol they don't literally mean "don't plug it in". They mean "Microsoft wants to make it so you don't have to plug in your phone for a week"
  • lol ohhhh. Thanks sir
  • ⏫ this
  • Really, my 620 already lasts a full work week (5 days) between charging, and I leave NFC, BT, and Wi-Fi on. I even have the Wi-Fi stay on when the screen is off. I don't however have the celular data turned on, because I use Wi-Fi for all my data useage. I may be able to get a full 7 days, it I actually managed my battery usage. Note: I turn my phone off when sleeping though, so I guess that helps.
  • That's astounding. I noticed turning cellular data off helps the battery a lot and I may start turning my phone off at night because, why not
    Question... Does the phone come on automatically when its time for the alarm to go off? Like blackberry does or at least used to
  • Unfortunately not.
  • I just put my phone in flight mode when I go to bed. That way: 1. I'm not bothered by calls and 2. I save battery power while 3. Can still use it as an alarm.
  • Record for me has been 6 days between charges (also 620), Wi-Fi always on, no BT, no NFC, no cellular data, but i didn't turn the phone off at night. If I actualy use it (rather than doing a lengthy endurance test :D), than on average it lasts 2-3 days
  • my record on lumia 920 is 5 full days (and 4 nights inbetween) usage lower than normal (30m of calls, like 50sms, few internet queries), 2G, wifi always on, battery saver mode when <25?% normally its 3 days - (more internet e.g. fb/twitter, some GPS, more calls, sms/mms) and Im really happy with my SMARTphone battery life :)
  • The title is badly worded and quite misleading. 
  • +920
  • You ain't lying Posted via the WPC App
  • You've just described everything written by Rich. Try this - find a single article of his that doesn't contain a stupid rhetorical question that he answers in the next sentence.
  • I didn't do the title, but thanks for your constructive feedback. I'll pass it onto someone who actually cares.
  • lol
  • Your writing is catastrophic. It is astounding that WPC doesn't employ a copy editor.
  • You're correct. My writing is horrendous. I should consider a trip back to school to receive some royal spanking for my absolute rape of her Majesty's language, acknowledged by "nbolmer." I thank you for adding to my life in general. I'd not be the same person as I was the other day had you not taken the opportunity to write absolute drivel. Good day.
  • Wow no need to be an asshat
  • @nbolmer Here's a warning: quit trolling and insulting our writers or risk a ban. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but snotty insults are not. Like I said, this is your one and only warning.
  • Hi nbolmer, how you doin'?
  • +1  
  • This article definition slipped through the editors. As someone who used to TA for a community college remedial English class, this article would definitely fail. Come on WPC, seriously?
  • I too was lost by the article and the title. However, the article also doesn't lead me to believe that Microsoft, "doesn't want me to have to plug in for a week" as someone else stated here. Maybe that's what the title should say as when I first saw the current title I thought to myself, "But the 1020 won't last a day in a half without the battery dying".
  • Keep releasing apps on other platforms first and nobody will be plugging any WPs in. Ever.
  • THIS
  • I'm usually someone that fail to get connections like this, but this one didn't seem bad. I enjoy the non standard title by wpc every now and then.
  • Don't feel bad, I have ADHD as well... ;)
  • Imagine a 15000 mAh battery with the form factor of today's 2000 mAh battery's 
  • I cant. That'd be too slick. That would mean by 1520 would last 4.5 times as long as it does now. And right now it lasts me a full day of moderate-heavy use. Wow that'd be a smartphone that you only had to charge once a week
  • No, that's not exactly accurate. They are looking for ways to make that 2000 mah battery last a lot longer, especially when the phone is doing background stuff. It really would be more like taking a high performance sports car with 500 horsepower but then giving it the gas mileage of a Prius when you are just cruising around town. If you take it out and start flooring it and driving it hard, it is still going to suck a lot of gas. In your analogy you fit a tractor-trailer gas tank into the same space as the standard car gas tank. Same thing with your phone. Sure it may last a week of just email and stuff with the new technology but if you start playing games and asking a lot more from the CPU then you're still going to run out of battery pretty quickly because you aren't really increasing the size of the tank.
  • Is nobody investing any time in a newer battery technology?
  • There's not much to be gained in new battery technology. It's almost perfected
  • Sorry but i disagree, maybe i agree that they have reached the limit with l-ion battery's, but i'm pretty sure they have another technology where you can put much more power into the battery's of today. Those who make it are just waiting for the perfect moment to make huge money with it, as it has always gone like that, they add a few improvements to products to make money, but at the same time they have all the improvements already made but, to say it again, they wait so consumers buy the 'improved' products ... I'm just wondering when the time is right to bring those battery's with insane capacity's to the public...
  • There's no better time than now to bring this tech out if it is viable. You can bet that many are working on it, and if there was a good alternative yet - it would be on the market, or in the patent process at a minimum.
  • Every once in awhile I see articles about significant battery breakthroughs, but nothing is coming in the near future.
  • At first, I read this and thought Microsoft just thought my phone could last a week and I thought "screw that" then I was like, "oh"
  • Lol, I came into the article thinking that.
  • That would be a change, my 920 barely lasts 12h, and thats w/o 4G.
  • My 920 last for a whole day without 4G. :)
  • My 822 lasts over a day with mild to moderate use with LTE on. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • My 1020 lasts maybe 10 hours.
  • My 920 lasts up to 36 hours. Last last 8 is usually on battery saver, with very little use. And I leave all my radios on all the time, including LTE.
  • battery-life depends on usage.. "my battery lasts a whole week, bla bla.." for sure it does, if you just don't use it. You guys are like my girlfriend "don't be mad at me, but i think i broke the internet".
  • I currently have to plug my phone in twice a day, so they have a ways to go! 
  • Didn't old blackberries already have week long battery life?
  • Yes and so did alot of others. Some even had month long but phones today aren't like the feature phones of yesterday.
  • Yeah, but old blackberrys only had emails and some basic apps and games, they had a small screen, no touchscreen, slow processor, low quality camera, ...
  • Oh come on my first BB rocked it was a 7100i Nextel 2-way no audio no camera boy loved that one LOL:D
  • True, but the BB10s of today last just one day on a single charge of moderate to heavy use. That should tell you that the bb of yesteryears you mentioned are actually dumb-down versions of today's smartphones, hence they lasted for multiple days.
  • Interesting to read the full post.
  • Old Nokia phones can last for weeks or even months w/o plug in
  • My old Nokia 6010 was the best. I could loose the charger and never worry about it.
  • because you can buy another one, right ? :)
  • No, because the battery lasted longer than most relationships.
  • Yeah, and it was always when you needed it that you found out you forgot to plug it in a week ago!
  • Yeahhhhh,,,,, They really need to re-word that one. Talk about confusing the shit out of everyone. I had to read it twice.
  • I definitely agree
  • The majority of the article is about efforts to use 'white space' in the RF spectrum, which has nothing to do with improving battery life of mobile devices. Even so, the use of the term 'plug in' is ambiguous in relation to charging the battery of our devices. Better to refer to 'week long battery life' or 'charge your phone', but has very little to do with the content of the article.
  • I don't plug my phone in for a week. Its my smartphones which need to be charged every day or two.
  • When do this kind of tecnology will see the light?
  • Sounds good
  • It's funny all the shit MS research does, but it never reaches the consumer in the spectacular way they want to. So few comes out. It's like they invest in long term invisible technologies that lose purpose once other companies bypass the problems they address. Like all this difficulty about increasing battery life on the software level.. Another company will just invent a battery with way more capacity. And if they research it so much, why is WP8 not way more battery efficient than iOS or Android? Its like their research is never in their products in a noticeable way. Or is anybody going to claim that the ps4 controller has way more latency and is way inferior? And why can you not connect to multiple wireless networks in w8.1 when this already worked years ago on win xp? MS research is much much talk, no practical implementation.
  • My son's 520 can last a week without recharging. But then again, it is just laying on the table.
  • I used to have a Samsung Juke, terrible phone, but the battery lasted forever.
  • There would be more comments here but the fan boy part of the community instinctively shut down their phones for a week. Don't worry they'll be back next Wednesday and boy will they be pissed. ;)
  • That's hilarious!I am still chuckling
  • This is a really interesting read. Thanks for sharing
  • Spend more time and effort into creating better batteries instead of reducing power consumption of the device, devices are becoming more and more powerful, the side effect of that is higher power consumption, stop fighting a losing battle and concentrate on providing more power to the device rather than attempting to reduce what it uses.
  • I fully agree, read my post above. MS has inefficient aims in their research department.
  • A host of other companies whose expertise is on battery hardware are already doing very good research on better and more efficient batteries. That is NOT Microsoft's expertise! However, they are experts on software and that's what they are focused on here.
  • Given that microsoft is a software company, I highly doubt they have a host of chemists and chemical engineers equipped to do anything about battery chemistry. On the other hand, I'm sure they're chock full of computer science/computer engineers. Not to say thats the only person they hire, but it would be pretty silly to call Microsoft dumb for researching software optimization...
  • I don't plug it anywhere. Wireless charging, b*tches =D
  • +920 Always wanted to do that... :p    
  • Worst article title EVER! I expect better from you WPCentral!
  • What does this article mean? Don't charge our phones through plugs?
  • Give MS research moar monies MS. They are worth every penny.
  • The title is misleading, as mentioned by others...
  • Nice work!!!!
  • What?. Way to geeky for me.
  • hope this come sooner than later.
  • The title of the article should have been: "Microsoft "ambitiously" wants your windows device battery to last for a week without charging!"
  • phone is for using not standby. MS have to make the WP used more better is more important than that.
  • My 920 would be dead early on the second day if it made it that far