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Motorola: Dodgy Android Apps Breaking Our Phones

Is your Android-based Motorola phone running like a piece of junk? Is it so sluggish that a snail could complete Angry Birds before the screen regenerates all your icons? Chances are it's because of the dodgy third-party applications served up on Google's Android Market.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Technology Conference, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said that 70-percent of its smartphone returns are caused by the openness of Google's Android platform and essentially sloppy work conducted by third-party app developers. He indicated that there's a lack of quality control at Google, and because of Android's multitasking nature, unoptimized apps are lurking in the background, feasting on precious battery and processing power like fat leeches.

"Anyone can put an application on the Android Marketplace ... without any testing process," Jha told delegates, adding that the ability to multitask is both a blessing and a curse. "Seventy per cent of devices are coming back because they have downloaded a third-party application, and the effect that has on performance."

To help combat this problem, Motorola launched its MOTOBLUR overlay which allows customers to keep up with social networks, back up data, and manage applications to maximize battery power. The problem is that MOTOBLUR is only (currently) available on eleven Android handsets ranging from the Atrix 4G to the DEVOUR. Other consumers must download third-party task killers from the Android Market or Amazon Appstore that don't always do the job.

The fact that many apps insist on running continuously in the background for no apparent reason is a definite performance problem for the Android platform. Amazon's Appstore app can linger behind the scenes even when "killed" multiple times. Slacker Radio is another resource hog, but one of the biggest offenders is actually Google itself, with Google Voice and Google Music gulping down resources even though the apps and their widgets aren't even loaded. Double instances of Google Maps can even show up shortly after the device is rebooted and the app never opened.

Android device owners looking to gain extra battery time can see what's draining juice by heading to Settings / About Phone / Battery Use. Multiple widgets and numerous icons are known to weigh down the processor especially after closing a game or another video-intensive application.