Who Killed My Battery: Analyzing Mobile Browser Energy Consumption

Authors: N. Thiagarajan, G. Aggarwal, A. Nicoara, D. Boneh, and J. Singh

Despite the growing popularity of mobile web browsing, the energy consumed by a phone browser while surfing the web is poorly understood. We present an infrastructure for measuring the precise energy used by a mobile browser to render web pages. We then measure the energy needed to render financial, e-commerce, email, blogging, news and social networking sites. Our tools are sufficiently precise to measure the energy needed to render individual web elements, such as cascade style sheets (CSS), Javascript, images, and plug-in objects. Our results show that for popular sites, downloading and parsing cascade style sheets and Javascript consumes a significant fraction of the total energy needed to render the page. Using the data we collected we make concrete recommendations on how to design web pages so as to minimize the energy needed to render the page. As an example, by modifying scripts on the Wikipedia mobile site we reduced by 30% the energy needed to download and render Wikipedia pages with no change to the user experience. We conclude by estimating the point at which offloading browser computations to a remote proxy can save energy on the phone.

In Proceedings of the 21st International World Wide Web conference (WWW), 2012, ACM Press, pp. 41-50.

Full paper: pdf         [first posted 7/2012 ]