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Research Reveals Free Apps Drain Batteries Faster


I got my iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab just a few weeks apart from each other. Being my first real hands-on experience with both iOS and Android, I got understandably app crazy. I downloaded a bunch of apps for both systems and also bought a number of paid apps. I quickly realized that despite the premium associated with buying an app, it does have its benefits – better support, additional features, and no annoying ads. Now researchers have discovered one other thing that will make you look at this free/paid app debate – free apps will drain your device’s battery much faster.  

This was the result of a research conducted by Microsoft and Purdue University. Using a special energy profiling tool, they were able to find out about how apps on both Android and Windows Mobile smartphones affect the battery life of these devices when it runs with an open 3G connection. The results were shocking, to say the least. In one case, 75 percent of a device’s battery life was used up, not with playing games, but with operating third party ad services.

The study involved six highly popular smartphone apps, which includes Facebook and Rovio’s smash hit Angry Birds. These apps were monitored as they were run through three HTC smartphones – two running Android and one running Windows Mobile. Because of the restrictions that were built into the iOS mobile operating system, the iPhone was not included in the study.

Let the results speak for themselves.

In the free version of Angry Birds, only 20 percent of the app’s battery consumption is used for gaming. Forty-five percent was used in finding out the player’s location for targeted advertising purposes.

The researchers also discovered a phenomenon called “3G tail.” This is where the battery’s energy still keeps draining even after an action has been completed. For example, in Angry Birds, the 3G tail was 25 percent of the total energy consumption of the app.

Those paid apps are looking quite good right now, aren’t they?

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