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I am building an android application where users can pay for items they buy with ether. Application will use a private ethereum network.

As I understood, I have to run an ethereum node in the android device as a separate process and my android app has to communicate with it using either sending commands or through JSON RPC.

Since android is very concerned about the power consumption, would android allow running a separate process continuously? Would android kill the process after some time?

Also, would running the node continuously in the device cause a huge battery drain?

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in android you could develop a light client (Spv) like Jaxx.

https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/Light-client-protocol

On 30/06/2016, the public test phase for the Ethereum Light Client has started check : https://github.com/zsfelfoldi/go-ethereum/wiki/Light-Client-Public-Test https://github.com/ethereum/go-ethereum/wiki/Mobile-Clients:-Libraries-and-Inproc-Ethereum-Nodes

such client will not drain your battery because it didn't perform any heavy calculation. Also, you could join gitter.im/ethereum/light-client to get more help

In Ethereum, a light client can be viewed as a client that downloads block headers by default, and verifies only a small portion of what needs to be verified, using a distributed hash table as a database for trie nodes in place of its local hard drive.

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