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Free Android apps waste 75 per cent of power on adverts

New research suggests that up to 75 per cent of a free Android app's battery use is spent on adverts and other hidden tasks.

Anyone got a charger? If you're tearing your hair out at your phone running out of juice all the time, it could be that your favourite apps are to blame. New research suggests that up to 75 per cent of free Android apps' battery use is spent on adverts and other hidden tasks.

New Scientist reports the findings from Purdue University in Indiana in the US, where curious boffins built special software to analyse apps' power demands.

The research reveals smash hit Angry Birds, among others, spends just a fifth of the power it uses on actually playing the fowl-flinging game. Instead, nearly half of the energy used by the app goes towards checking where you are using GPS and downloading adverts over 3G that are specific to your location.

More than a quarter of the app's energy demand is then wasted when this 3G connection stays open for a further 10 seconds after the ads arrive.

This month the Android Market app store was renamed Google Play. In the week that footballing fancy dans Manchester Utd challenged Google over rampart trademark infringement, is it time Android got serious about standards for apps and their behaviour? Inefficient code is blamed for this wasted energy, which can be a serious problem if it puts such a drain on your phone's battery.

How can you stop apps from draining your battery? You can switch Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth off when you're not using them, dial down the brightness on your screen and charge every time you get within 10ft of a power socket -- or you could stop being so cheap and pay for apps. Most free apps are just ad-filled tasters for the proper version, which you need to pay for. Without the adverts your battery life should improve.

A worthwhile trade-off, in theory, but I'm still not that keen on paying for something I can get for free. And I'm not alone: less than half of people downloading apps for their phone or tablet have ever paid for an app.

Are you an app-oholic? Do you pay up for apps? Is battery life a major issue for you? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.