Whereas many blogs have been laying the focus on Free Apps that would be draining your smartphone battery life, the real culprit are the ads. Recent tests have shown that those the ads in those free apps spend more energy than actually running the app itself. Which is a major problem, not for the app builders but for the mobile ad agencies such as Google, to name just the most important one.
I for one will mostly buy apps, just because I want the full monty not just the freebie part of an app. If you like an app, why stick to a limited version anyhow. And for the cost you shouldn’t bother either, most of the time you only have to pay not even a dollar/euro to get the full package.
But this aside, what is actually draining the battery life? A research team at Purdue University has found that the energy used to produce those ads can account for as much as three-fourths of the total energy used to run the apps. Note that the survey (hosted on the Microsoft Research servers – let’s hope this did not influence their results) only counts for none-iPhone smartphones, but you can be pretty certain that the same applies there as well. The energy consumed goes into serving up ads or tracking and uploading user data. The 3G connection that downloads the ad stays open for around 10 seconds, even if it’s finished downloading. The Purdue University calls this the ‘tail energy’ and it consumes another 28 per cent of the app’s energy.
So who is to blame? According to the research team the error should be found in inefficiencies in the third-party code that developers use to generate profit on free apps. In other words, the Googles of this world criple your smartphone battery life because of inept coding.
You would have thought that a party like Google would have enough engineers around to take care of this problem, but so far, nothing seems to be moving there.