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The Most Annoying Android Apps

Here's a list of apps to watch out for--and why.

By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
April 19, 2012 09:35 AM ET

PC World - Not all Android apps are created equal, and most are far from perfect.

And I'm not just talking about all of the unpopular, unmonitored apps that flood Google Play and often end up being ousted because they're spammy or malicious. Even popular apps from respected companies are often guilty of draining your battery, shilling for (paid) updates, and spamming your notification bar with ads.

Here are more than a dozen popular apps that offend in various ways.

Noisy Notifier: Instagram for Android

Instagram made its Android debut just a couple of weeks ago, but the app isn't perfect. One major issue is that the default notification setting is to spam you with updates whenever one of your contacts joins Instagram. Not when they follow you, just when they join. You can disable this by going to: Instagram, Settings, Edit Profile, Manage Settings, Push Notifications, Contact Notifications. Yeah, they really make it easy.

Super Spammer: Gun Bros.

Glu Mobile's free Gun Bros. is packed with fast-paced action and spammy ad notifications. The game uses alerts (similar to, but not, those from the Airpush ad network) to constantly pester you with promotional material--from Gun Bros., at least--in your notification bar. You can turn off the Gun Bros. ads in the Settings menu.

Data Hog: Netflix

Apps that use tons of data get a bad rap, perhaps unfairly--after all, you can't make a streaming video app that doesn't use tons of data. Still, Netflix is the major offender in this category. In fact, Netflix is such a data hog that even landline Internet providers are trying to put a cap on it. Netflix data consumption varies, because Netflix constantly adjusts video quality to keep up with your connection speed. But in our tests, streaming Netflix for just 10 minutes over Verizon's LTE network used between 100MB and 200MB of data.

Battery Drain: Angry Birds

Rovio's Angry Birds is uber-popular, especially on Android, where the app is free and ad-supported. But those "free" ads can cost you--in battery life, according to a new study by Purdue University. The study, which was performed in collaboration with Microsoft, claims that third-party advertising in free apps can be responsible for as much as 75 percent of an app's battery consumption. The researchers looked at Angry Birds and found that the core gaming component consumed only about 18 percent of the app's energy, while 45 percent of the app's energy went to third-party ads and analytics.

Bloatware: Verizon's Apps

Annoying apps are one thing, but at least you can remove them--most of the time. But if they come preloaded on your device, your carrier likely doesn't want you to do any such thing. Verizon phones, for example, come preloaded with My Verizon Mobile and VZ Backup Assistant, and there's nothing you can do about it. Unless you have Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), that is. In ICS, you can disable and hide any system app (but you still can't remove it).

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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