Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Poor Android Smartphone Or Tablet Battery Life? Blame Those Free Apps

Are you experiencing poor battery life on your new Android based smartphone or tablet? According to a  new report conducted by Purdue University and touted by Microsoft suggests that this may be due to in-app advertising.

Using a new specially-developed energy profiling tool called EProf the research team at Purdue University monitored the power use of Android and Windows Phone devices. For the Android tests the team tested power consumption while using five popular Android applications - Angry Birds, Free Chess, the Android browser, MapQuest and the New York Times app all running on an HTC Passion (Nexus One) running Android 2.3. The results were quite eye-opening.

PcToolsThe researchers found that up to 70 percent of the power used by free apps was caused by downloading advertisements and tracking users. The team claims that this excessive battery consumption is due to poorly-coded ad modules which leave connections open for up to ten seconds after downloading information.

Poorly coded Ads aren’t the only thing with negative impacts on your battery life. Both the Android browser and the New York Times app consumed around 15 percent of battery power on user tracking alone. The EProf tool also discovered bugs in apps such as Facebook’s Android app that also cause the battery to be drained more rapidly than necessary by not allowing the CPU to enter sleep mode even after the app has been terminated.

In the case of the very popular game Angry Birds, just a fifth of the power used was caused by actually playing the game, with almost half accounted for by location services used for location based targeted advertisements.

My thoughts: No real surprises here

I can't say I'm all that surprised. Years on the internet should tell anyone that advertisements and games tend to suck up more power even on your PC. Bad coding has been an issue in the computing world forever. The one thing I am a bit surprised about however, is that the team decided to only presented its conclusion on the Android OS and apps, and not their finding on Windows Mobile OS.

Given that the study was at least partially funded or conducted in collaboration with Microsoft it comes across a bit more like Android bashing than quantitative research.

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