A report published today by Alcatel-Lucent has named Facebook Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Blackberry Messenger among the top battery-draining mobile apps in the market.
The Mobile Application Rankings Report also listed the top ranking apps for data usage and network impact, with YouTube, Netflix, Facebook Video and Pandora unsurprisingly identified as chewing up the largest amounts of data, while Google, Facebook and WhatsApp showing the highest amount of network "chatter".
The research behind the report, which was authored by Alcatel-Lucent's Josee Loudiadis, was conducted in order to examine the impact of leading mobile applications on service provider's networks and on consumers' data plan and mobile device battery life.
For Loudiadis, the report also provides app developers some insight into how their app design affects users, while helping mobile providers keep track of the apps most likely to chew up network resources and allowing consumers to determine which apps could be costing them the most in terms of power, data and network usage.
"We spent some time to take a look at the blind spots," Loudiadis told ZDNet. "The app developers don't really have a very good understanding of the load they're placing on the network.
"They understand data, but one of the things they're not really familiar with is the load, not just for the network, but the signalling — the chattiness between phones and the network — and that impacts the battery. I would say most app developers have no idea because they're used to testing on a Windows platform and they don't know the cost they're passing on down the stream," she said.
The report found Office 365, WhatsApp and Facebook topped the overall cost ranking for consumers, taking into account the apps' combined impact on battery drain and data plan consumption.
Additionally, high network impact apps — which consume significant bandwidth from service providers' network resources — included WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
According to Loudiadis, these apps and others like them are perfectly primed to be optimised by their developers to help alleviate the impact they could have on telcos' networks.
In one instance Loudiadis uncovered during her research, when Facebook launched its new app last year, it drove 10-15 percent more signalling activity on mobile providers' networks overnight.
Once the cause of the surge in network activity was identified, Facebook moved to update its Android app in a bid to reduce the network impact it was causing.
For Loudiadis, this is just one example of how building awareness around how app design can impact networks and consumers while helping to save money and resources for both. But it all starts with the developer.
"The app developers need to understand how their apps are used by customers," said Loudiadis. "And that can fuel how you tweak your application for optimisation. You can start letting the user know that they have options for the configuration of the app within the device, for example."