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CTIA IDs Bandwidth-Hogging Smartphone Apps

CTIA IDs Bandwidth-Hogging Smartphone Apps
By Jennifer LeClaire

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The "Know My App" Web site from CTIA currently offers test results for the 50 top paid and free apps from the Apple and Google stores with more being tested and added each month. CTIA also invites developers to submit their apps to be tested so their results can be included in the ratings listed on the Know My App Web site.
 



Do you ever wonder how much data your favorite smartphone apps use? Now, you can remove all doubt with a new Web site that makes it easy to understand.

CTIA-The Wireless Association has rolled out a Web site called "Know My App" to spell out how much data your apps use before you use them. Existing tools spell out how much your apps use after you use them. KnowMyApp.org gets ahead of the curve, estimating an app’s data usage before it’s downloaded. What’s more, the site offers developers information that helps them create apps that conserve data usage and minimize battery life impacts.

“With experts predicting continued exponential growth of mobile technology, including apps, everyone -- from consumers to developers -- should work together to be responsible stewards of our networks and spectrum,” said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA.

Data-Hogging Apps

Here’s how it works: Visitors can search by name, operating systems or categories. After locating and clicking the desired apps, users will find the following information: how the apps were tested; how much data is used when they're downloaded, at initialization, during active run time and during background time; how the apps impact data plans; and how users can conserve data usage.

KnowMyApp.org currently offers test results for the 50 top paid and free apps from the Apple and Google stores with more being tested and added each month. CTIA also invites developers to submit their apps to be tested so their results can be included in the ratings listed on the Web site.

“This program benefits both mobile application users and developers by highlighting the importance of testing for mobile applications,” said Darrell Lehman, senior vice president of Intertek’s Wireless Business Line. “The data that can be gleaned from testing is valuable, and in this case, it is helping consumers understand how their applications utilize their data plans, and giving developers data they can use to make more efficient applications.”

Conserving Scarce Resources

KnowMyApp.org was developed by CTIA and its Application Data Usage Working Group, which includes: Apple, AT&T, Brightstar Corp., Ericsson Inc., HTC America Inc., LG Electronics MobileComm USA Inc., Microsoft Corp., Nex-Tech Wireless, Qualcomm, SAP Mobile Services, SouthernLINC Wireless, Sprint Corp., T-Mobile US Inc., U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless.

We caught up with Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his take on the new site. He told us transparency and consumer information is always a good thing.

“The more consumers know the less surprises there are. This transparency also puts pressure on app developers to code in a bandwidth-conserving way. That helps consumers because they have to pay less for data. It helps the carriers because they have to build less infrastructure or they have to add it less quickly,” Entner said.

“Wireless bandwidth is like oil and all the other scarce resources. That’s all we have. Right now, many apps are still in the let's-use-bandwidth-like-water category. The application provider doesn’t really care how much bandwidth the app uses even though the consumer has to pay for it,” he said.
 

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