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Prefetching is a double-edged sword. It can hide the latency of data transfers over poor and intermittently connected wireless networks, but the costs of prefetching in terms of increased energy and cellular data usage are potentially substantial, particularly for data prefetched incorrectly. Weighing the costs and benefits of prefetching is complex, and consequently most mobile applications employ simple but sub-optimal strategies. Rather than leave the job to applications, the authors argue that the underlying mobile system should provide explicit prefetching support. Their prototype, IMP, presents a simple interface that hides the complexity of the prefetching decision. IMP uses a cost-benefit analysis to decide when to prefetch data.
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