Is Android’s Data Guzzling Over-flogged?

Posted by


In response to Olamide’s recent article, Moving On With Android, Stuck On BlackBerry, lomg-time Mobilista, EyebeeKay submitted the following: Moving On With Android, Stuck On BlackBerry:

this android data guzzling is an over-flogged fallacy.

It is a matter of your consumption pattern, rather than Android itself.

if you wish to enjoy low data consumption, do most of your internet access via a server assisted web browser like Opera Mini.

and follow other tips given on this site and elsewhere.

In other words, you would not have apps like Falcon, gReader or Facebook syncing interminably in the background and still expect abysmal data consumption.

The above sounds like a sound defense of Android, yet it contains information that nails Android as guilty. The key info in there is in the last paragraph/sentence which admits that 1) there is indeed huge data consumption, and 2) that it is due to apps that constantly sync in the background.

This is the problem that I have with every defense of Android on the issue of data consumption. First, the defender attempts to write it off as a non-issue. Then, the defender admits that the data consumption happens. Finally, the defender offers solutions. I remember an article many months ago, in which Android users claimed that there was no data guzzling issue with Android, and then stated how they used certain data monitoring apps and steps to keep their data consumption low. It was all hilarious.

Data Syncing

Android is built in such a way that apps are constantly syncing in the background by default. The implementation of multi-tasking on Android means that apps that are in the background run for the most part, and those that need an internet connection just keep connecting. This is not how every mobile OS is built. Someone coming from Symbian/Belle, for example, is in for a data consumption shock on Android, because that is not exactly how Symbian/Belle works. The background syncing thing is mostly strange to Belle. Do you see it clearly? Android is the culprit. it is guilty as charged because of the fundamental nature it is built to work.

Google’s Data Collection

There is also the issue of Google collecting huge amounts of user data and usage patterns in the background and storing them on their servers. This is what Google lives on, and is part of the reason why Android is free. Well, it turns out that you, the end user, still get to pay for it somehow. All that data do add up. And it costs something to transmit them. This is in addition to the various ad-supported apps who also contribute to the stackup. Of course, this is not peculiar to Android alone.

Head In The Sand?

No; I do not think that Android’s data guzzling is over-flogged. Everyone who jumps on the Android train is hit by it and notices it, almost regardless of what platforms they are coming from. It is a real problem to people.

No; it is not just a matter of people’s consumption patterns. The very way that Android itself is built to work is a vital part of the picture.

Instead of calling it over-flogged and attempting to water down the issue, what we should be doing is educating people as to how to go around it. Teach people that they can disable auto-sync. Teach people that there are apps that can be used to manage this problem. It is a problem for millions of people. Some of us can sit on our high horses and turn a blind eye to it. Many cannot. If it guzzles that much data – and it does – their pockets cannot support it.

Deal with the problem; stop denying it.