Abhinav Pathak, a computer scientist at Purdue University, Indiana, and colleagues have concluded that free smartphone apps with in-app advertising may lead to the battery being drained at a faster rate, compared to paid apps. What's interesting (and slightly alarming) is the team discovered through testing that Angry Birds, Free Chess and NYTimes only used 10 - 30 percent of the battery power for core functionality.
Using the Android Market as the test grounds for the research, the team found that 25 - 35% of the app power consumption went to third-party advertising code displayed in apps for developers to make ends meet. In the case of Angry Birds, 20% is used to display and run the game, while 45% of the power is used finding and uploading the user's location with GPS, followed by downloading location-appropriate ads over a 3G connection.
This is something to consider when next browisng any smartphone marketplace. The findings will be presented by Pathak at the EuroSys conference in Bern, Switzerland, next month. Be sure to check out the full research documentation as it's fairly lengthy, but interesting.