Researchers have measured impacts for some of the advertising present on free mobile applications.  The constant refreshing process for some ads do not allow the smartphone to go into an energy saving mode and can impact battery life between charges.

QUOTE: All of us have had the bewildering experience of watching our phone’s battery quickly dwindle to nothing in what feels like no time at all. Most of us probably blame the phone’s age or insidious planned obsolescence, but the real culprit might be in-app ads. We’ve been hearing a lot about the security implications of mobile advertising, but this adds a whole new dimension to the discussion. A study from April by lead author and UC Berkeley graduate student Prashanth Mohan looks at how much energy mobile advertising consumes. According to Mohan, ads within Windows Phone apps, “consume 65% of an app’s total communication energy, or 23% of an app’s total energy.”

The study suggests that ad networks could reduce their impact on mobile device battery life by pre-loading the ads. Instead of warming up the radio several times an hour, advertisers could download larger batches of ads less frequently. The trick would be balancing between the need to meet contractual obligations about when customers’ ads are displayed and avoiding scenarios where there simply aren’t any ads to display.  There’s been a lot of attention given to the existing app store advertising model as of late. Earlier this week, Lookout announced new standards for ad networks to avoid being flagged as ad ware. There’s also been a rise in security apps that analyze app permissions, making users more aware of how advertising works on their phones. With smartphones coming of age, it might be time to really examine advertising practices and make sure that this critical piece of the app ecosystem is really fair for everyone.