Purdue-based startup reports preinstalled apps do not consume more power than user-installed apps

March 20, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Officials at a software startup company based on a Purdue University innovation have conducted a study that concludes preinstalled apps on smartphone devices do not use more energy than apps installed by the user, dispelling a common myth.

Y. Charlie Hu, CEO of Mobile Enerlytics LLC, said preinstalled apps require the same or similar amount of power as apps with similar functionality available at app stores. He and his colleagues analyzed data from more than 70,000 smartphone devices in January. Hu also is a professor in Purdue University's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"Our free eStar energy saver app provided rich energy profile information we used in our study," he said. "eStar shows smartphone users how fast different mobile apps in app stores drain smartphone batteries. It warns the user about apps that drain an excessive amount of the battery, and estimates how much battery life a smartphone user could save by stopping the apps. It further recommends a list of similar apps in the app market that are more energy efficient."

Hu and his colleagues compared several data points between preinstalled apps by three of the most popular Android phone vendors, Samsung, HTC and Motorola, and by two carriers, AT&T and Verizon, and user-installed apps. The data included the average number on a device, the average daily use, how much power they drained when used and how much power they drained when they weren't used.

"The low usage of preinstalled apps compared to user-installed apps came as no surprise because they were not actively downloaded by the user to serve a specific need. In fact, users sometimes may not even be aware of them," Hu said. "Perhaps their low usage also comes from myths that preinstalled apps draw more power in general and that they draw a lot of power in the background, or when they are not being used."

Despite the myths, Hu said he and his colleagues discovered the power being used by preinstalled apps in the foreground and the background was similar to user-installed apps.

"Sometimes the preinstalled apps from device manufacturers such as Samsung and carriers such as AT&T and Verizon drain less energy than similar ones installed by users, and sometimes they drain more," he said. "But based on the data, we can't argue that one type is always more power hungry than the other."

Mobile Enerlytics' study is available here. The company is based at Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette. It has been nominated in the Tech Innovation of the Year category of the 16th annual TechPoint Mira Awards.

About Mobile Enerlytics LLC

Mobile Enerlytics is an Indiana-based technology company with the mission of developing technologies that extend smartphone battery life by enabling energy-centric mobile app design. Mobile Enerlytics develops software that empowers smartphone users with access to energy-efficient apps and empowers app developers to pinpoint energy bottlenecks of mobile apps and to reduce their energy footprint. For more information, visit http://www.mobileenerlytics.com.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The Purdue Research Park manages the Purdue Technology Centers in four sites in Indiana: West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The more than 260 companies located in the park network employ about 4,500 people who earn an average annual wage of $63,000. The park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

Purdue Research Park contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org 

Source: Y. Charlie Hu, ychu@mobileenerlytics.com 

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