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… but ads consume nearly a quarter of battery power, finds survey

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Advertising received on mobile phones causes an increase in the consumption of energy, with ads on average consuming 65% of an app’s communication energy and 23% of an app’s total energy demands, according to report by Microsoft Research and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB).

The report looked at the energy consumption of popular apps on Android and Windows phones. The researchers found that a typical mobile app refreshes it’s ads every 12-120 seconds, which forces the radio network to be constantly re-awakened, after which the app will keep its 3G radio connection open for another 25 seconds. This period, known as ‘tail time’, results in the high-energy overhead incurred by ads.

“The use of in-app advertising has enabled the production of free apps for many people’s enjoyment, but we have to consider the impact this is having on battery drain,” commented Till Faida, co-founder and managing director of Adblock Plus, a service which seeks to allow users control over adverts that they see on digital devices. “Smartphones are advancing everyday; unfortunately their batteries are not developing as fast. Many consumers are blaming their phone for poor battery performance when it is the advertising that is at fault.”

Each smartphone user owns an average of 29 apps but only pays for 1 in 10, according to the findings of a uSwitch survey. Most apps consequently rely on targeted advertising, resulting not just in an invasion of personal privacy, but also in draining the life from our phones.

Adblock Plus aims to find a balance between an ad-free mobile experience and one where application developers can sustain themselves without imposing an undue burden on the consumer or their mobile phones. Adblock Plus endorses an Acceptable Ads policy, and gives users the choice to permit advertising that is responsible and not annoying. In this way, users can support apps and websites that rely on advertising but that choose to do it in a non-intrusive or non-burdensome way.

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