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April 17, 2015

The Cost of a Free App

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Isn’t it just great that you can obtain a free or “Lite” version of a Game? Yeah, you’re racking up the savings, say 99 cents a pop, but perhaps there’s a bigger cost involved, one that weighs more heavily on your Android phone or tablet than the price of the full app.

I don’t believe that the developer’s intent is that you just use the free app instead of the paid app. I think it’s more a “free trial” type of offer. And I’ve done that many times: I’ll download the free or Lite version of an app and then enjoy it enough to fork over the Big Bucks for the paid version.

For me, it’s nice to play the paid version of a game because I don’t get pestered all the time with the advertising. You know the drill: You play a few rounds of such-and-such and then, full-screen or banner, an ad pops up. The banner ads are easy to ignore and they don’t interfere with gameplay. The full-screen ads are a pain. They stop everything. And it’s no malfunction that the X (close) icon is in a different spot every time.

Have you ever had the full-screen ad pop up when you start the app? That’s the worst.

What’s even more distressful is that these “free” apps are costing you in other ways.

For example, the network access required to load the ads eats up your data minutes. If you look at the device’s data manager, you shouldn’t be surprised to find those free games as some of the biggest data hogs. It’s the ads!

That data access taxes you in other ways as well: It drains your phone or tablet’s battery more quickly. In fact, open your device’s Battery screen and look at which apps consume the most juice. If you’ve been playing a free game app, you’ll most likely see it in the list.

Fret not, gentle mobile device user! A solution is at hand.

The best way to play a free or Lite app is to first place your gizmo into Airplane Mode. In that mode, your phone or tablet disables the Wi-Fi and mobile data network — just as if you were playing a game to while away the hours at 36,000 feet.

Once in Airplane Mode, the app accepts that the Internet advertising mothership is out-of-reach. It dutifully skips over the advertising and lets you play, play, play. That way you can keep using the free app and not worry about losing any battery juice or mobile data rations as a consequence.

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