With BOINC for Android, your phone can do more than just charge its battery when connected to a wall outlet.
The new BOINC app for Android allows your phone to perform "volunteer computing," using spare processing power to contribute to scientific research projects. Just by leaving their phones on the charger, users can, for example, help analyze telescope data in the search for radio pulsars or help identify drugs with the right chemical makeup to treat AIDS.
Although the BOINC project has been around for over 10 years, and is already available for laptops and desktop computers, it's just now coming to Android as a free app. Setting up the app is fairly simple, though you do have to register online with the computing program of your choice before you may contribute.
To prevent itself from killing your battery or consuming too much wireless data, BOINC only works by default when the phone is charging, is connected to Wi-Fi, and has over 90 percent of its battery life remaining.
You can, however, tweak those settings within the app, allowing BOINC to run on the battery and over mobile broadband.
Should you decide to let BOINC run on wireless data, you can set daily limits on data transfers. You can also set limits on CPU, storage, and RAM usage.
The one thing that's missing right now is a way to set daily time limits on BOINC activity. If you tend to leave your phone plugged in overnight, and you're worried about preserving the cycle life of your battery, you may not want BOINC grinding away for eight hours at a time. The ability to set working hours is available on BOINC's desktop application, so hopefully this feature will soon be extended to the Android version.
Although there's no iOS version available, one may be on the way, according to a press release from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.