Free apps kill your battery!

By: Marawan Alwaraki, April 13, 2012
This is a guest post kind-fully written by Diana Maria (more info at the bottom of the post). Credits go to her. If you would like to write us a guest post please click here.

Free apps kill your battery
One of the most concerned issues about the smartphones is their battery efficiency. Smartphones are known to consume more battery as compared to the other phones. A computer scientist at Purdue University, Abhinav Pathak, claims that even running just one Android application at a time can consume up to 90% of the battery power. The reason of less battery backup time does not solely rely on processing and display of smartphones but the free application that a user runs consume more battery power giving lesser battery backup.
According to a survey conducted by Purdue University and Microsoft Research, the free apps turn on the phone hardware to serve up ads and store data even at a time when the application is not in use. This way the application uses more battery after its usage than the amount it would have consumed while running. The main culprits for less battery backup are those games and applications which depend upon the features of GPS and Proximity sensor or the Camera of the phone.

Power consumption analyzed
   Researchers have built a tool to calculate the amount of battery energy consumed by the application and is called ‘Energy Profiler’. Energy Profiler gave some astonishing results after analyzing the popular free apps like Angry Birds and Free Chess. The report showed that both these apps used only one-fourth of the total energy on playing the game while as the rest of the three-fourth was consumed by the ads through tracking, uploading user info and downloading ads.
   These findings also brought forward another fact that there was an energy leak while searching on Google as well. The search ended in a very short time but the 3g service of the phone stayed in ‘High power’ mode for about 7-10 seconds even after the search ended. Every time a user connects through 3G network there is ‘tail’ after usage. The tail is a particular source of power inefficiency phenomenon. The ‘tail’ effect is mainly only due to the usage of 3g network by uploading and downloading ad modules.
   This shows the amount of battery energy eaten by a simple search on a Smartphone is far more than the energy used in the search. Another tool created by researchers called as Eprof showed that the famous game Angry Birds consumed only 20% on game play while as the 45% was eaten by advertisement targeting and the 15 % by GPS tracking. The culprits are not the free apps themselves but the third party advertising agencies that create free apps.

The remedy
   Now that the true reason for the battery drain of smartphones has come to the fore, the researchers suggest bundling methods that can optimize the energy used by the apps. The researchers tested four different apps and found out that there was a reduction in energy consumption by 20-65% by the means of a new energy accounting presentation.This energy accounting presentation promises app developers to optimize the energy efficiency on smartphones.
   Considering the reports it is now clear that free apps are not free at all and they cost a user something that could be very important for a phone and that is battery backup.

About the author: Diana Maria is a blogger and a writer. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on home office design ideas.

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