Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana found that software which uses third-party services to display adverts places greater demands on handsets.
Android and Windows Mobile devices were used in the experiment, the results of which indicated that 75% of freemium app energy consumption is spent powering advertisements. The team was unable to test Apple handsets due to restrictions built into the iOS operating system.
Bestselling applications including Facebook and Angry Birds were measured in the study. In the case of the latter, just 20% of the app's power usage was to run the game itself. Other applications dedicated 45% to location tracking to deliver tailored adverts.
The research, which tested the programs over a 3G connection, found that many of them leave connections open for up to 10 seconds after downloads have ceased, BBC News reports.
Report co-author Abhinav Pathak concluded that app developers must move towards more efficient energy consumption levels.
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