Mobile apps that gobble up data are a big problem, causing customers to blow through bandwidth and quickly use up precious battery life.

One of the challenges, though, is that while customers often pay the price, they have little way to know what the apps they install are doing.

The key is to get those writing the programs to do a better job from the outset. AT&T is trying an interesting bit of reverse psychology to get developers to pay a bit more attention to the issue.

“Have customers been complaining about your app running too fast?” AT&T asks on a flyer handed out to mobile programmers who attended the developer summit held at last week’s CES.

AT&T then suggests some ways of slowing things down such as using uncompressed images, turning off caching and using lots of redirects. The carrier also touts a cross-platform “application resource optimizer” tool it offers to help make apps more responsive and less hungry for data and power.




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