Wireless telecommunications industry trade group CTIA unveiled the KnowMyApp.org Website, which informs consumers how much data their favorite applications are using.
In an effort to aid developers, the site also provides information so that when they are creating new apps, they know how to conserve their apps’ data usage and, whenever possible, minimize impact to battery life.
"By highlighting those apps and developers that use data efficiently, KnowMyApp.org seeks to guide consumers toward a better user experience," Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA, said in a statement. "We’re pleased to work with our members and the developer community to accomplish this goal since it’s important to provide apps that use data responsibly to minimize the impact on consumers’ usage as well as on wireless networks, which is fueled by spectrum."
While there are tools that allow consumers to learn about app data usage after the fact, including tools provided by wireless carriers such as AT&T or Verizon, this is the first time that users have been given the ability to estimate an app’s data usage before it is downloaded.
Visitors to the site can search by name, operating systems or categories. After locating and clicking the desired app, users will find information including how the app was tested, how much data is used when downloaded, at initialization--both first and subsequent start-ups to analyze caching), during active run time and during background time.
Site visitors can also discover how the app impacts different size data plans and the site also offers users information as to how they can conserve data usage.
Tips include switching from cellular to WiFi service where secure WiFi is available, adjusting an application’s settings to stop or minimize updates unless it is running on a secure WiFi hotspot, and minimizing apps that aren't in use so they're not running in the background.
The site was developed by CTIA and its Application Data Usage Working Group, which is comprised of a number of leading wireless and technology companies, including Apple, Intertek, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T.
With direction from those companies, Intertek developed the mobile app data usage benchmark testing using AT&T’s Application Resource Optimizer (ARO), an open-source diagnostic tool that captures, analyzes and reports network app data usage to help developers create more efficient apps.
"We are committed to bringing developers innovative resources that will help them create the best app experience for consumers, and ARO is a great example, as an app's back-end performance can significantly affect the user experience," Carlton Hill, vice president of developer services for AT&T, said in a statement.
KnowMyApp.org currently includes test results for the 50 top paid and free apps from Apple and Google stores, with more being tested and added each month. CTIA has also invited developers to submit their apps to be tested so their results are included in the ratings listed on the Website.
"Mobile app developers combine artistic vision with engineering skill to build the apps we can't live without," Jake Ward, executive director of the Application Developers Alliance, said in a statement. "The creativity of the publisher is constrained only by the limitations of their imagination and the technology they build in. Data and battery efficiency increases what is possible today and tomorrow."