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In-app adverts kill smartphone battery life

Ads use more power than the apps
Tue Mar 20 2012, 11:14

A RESEARCH TEAM in the US has warned that mobile apps containing adverts can use substantially more battery power than paid-for apps.

The researchers at Purdue University investigated the unexpectedly fast battery draining power of in-app ads after long sessions playing with Facebook and popular apps such as Angry Birds.

When playing Angry Birds they estimated that only around a fifth of the battery use was to actually power the game, with the remaining 80 per cent squandered on ads and GPS tracking to support location-based advertising.

The testers created an energy profiler dubbed Eprof to test the asynchronous power behaviour of applications running on smartphones. The energy profiling was conducted by running the apps over a 3G connection.

Interestingly the team revealed that many apps with integral ads maintain the 3G connection for a period of up to 10 seconds after the apps has "closed", further draining precious battery resources. They dubbed this linger connectivity a 3G tail, noting that with Angry Birds, this period of unnecessary connectivity could account for up to 25 per cent of the app's total energy profile.

It is worth noting that the research was supported by Microsoft. The handsets used in the testing were an HTC Tytn II clocked at 400Mhz running Windows Mobile 6.5. There was also a brace of Android test units - an HTC Magic clocked at 528Mhz running Android 2.0 and an HTC Passion with a 1024MHz chip running Android 2.3.

We have no idea how much battery power in-app ads use on IOS as the researchers said they were unable to break into an Iphone to run Eprof. µ

 

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