Finally, looks like there is a potential solution for the battery drain problems within the Android eco system. Carat is a research project that aims to detect energy bugs - app behavior that is consuming energy unnecessarily - using data collected from a community of mobile devices. It is an active research project, run out of Berkeley.
For the first week, the tool merely sits around, waiting for you to run it so it can report usage data back to the mother ship. And once you have enough samples sent back, the tool begins to give you personalized recommendations. My biggest recommendation was to kill the “Accuweather” weather widget. I did that and - presto - my battery use graphs seem to have gone flatter than usual.
The most interesting part is the approach taken by the team - not with an analysis of the API calls an application makes or their abuse of wakelocks etc. Instead it is statistical, based on a massive data mining effort of similar devices. Innovative and for the moment, seems effective.