As a society, we rely on a growing variety of purpose-specific mobile devices&#151everything from portable medical instruments for outpatients to dynamic navigation systems for our cars. These devices not only serve a multitude of functions, but also employ an immense range of power sources, processors, and peripherals. It’s not surprising, then, that such systems typically have unique power management requirements.

In this paper, we examine challenges posed faced by purpose-specific devices, discuss the applicability of current standards, and consider a more flexible alternative that moves power management out of the OS and into the hands of the software developer. Through this “application driven” model, developers can deliver faster response times, handle events unanticipated by existing standards, achieve finer-grained control over the power consumption of each subsystem, and, ultimately, ensure longer battery life.