Experience: Android Resists Liberation from Its Primary Use Case


Network connectivity is often one of the most challenging aspects of deploying sensors. In many countries, cellular networks provide the most reliable, highest bandwidth, and greatest coverage option for Internet access. While this makes smartphones a seemingly ideal platform to serve as a gateway between sensors and the cloud, we find that a device designed for multi-tenant operation and frequent human interaction becomes unreliable when tasked to continuously run a single application with no human interaction, a seemingly counter-intuitive result. Further, we find that economy phones cannot physically withstand continuous operation, resulting in a surprisingly high rate of permanent device failures in the field. If these observations hold more broadly, they would make mobile phones poorly suited to a range of sensing applications for which they have been rumored to hold great promise.

Proceedings of the 24th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking
Meghan Clark
Meghan Clark
Postdoctoral Scholar

My research interests include sensor networks, radio communications, and network monitoring.