3G Tail: Free Apps Drain The Battery Faster

Free mobile apps which use third-party services to display advertising consume considerably more battery life, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana, USA,  used a special tool to monitor energy use by several apps on Android and Windows Mobile handsets. Due to restrictions built into Apple’s mobile operating system, the team was unable to run tests on the iPhone.

Findings suggested that in one case 75% of an app’s energy consumption was spent on powering advertisements.

 

Report author Abhinav Pathak said app makers must take energy optimisation more seriously. Free applications typically have built-in advertisements so developers can make money without having to charge for the initial app download.

The research looked at popular apps such as Angry Birds and Facebook.In the case of Angry Birds, research suggested that only 20% of the total energy consumption was used to actually play the game itself. Of the rest, 45% is used finding out your location with which it can serve targeted advertising.

The tests were carried out by running the app over a 3G connection. The results noted that many apps leave connections open for up to 10 seconds after downloading information.

In Angry Birds, that brief period – described by researchers as a “3G tail” – accounted for over a quarter of the app’s total energy consumption.

For more info on the subject, read this pdf

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