Many people may believe that having an antivirus for their mobile device is exaggerated and a bit paranoiac, but the fact is that malware targeted towards these devices exist, and the trend is for the number to increase. There are free Android antivirus apps out there so why not protect yourself? Better safe than sorry, right?
Some may say that an app like that will make your mobile device sluggish and hog all its resources. Or they may say that only the paid versions will defend your phone effectively. Well, tests done by AV-TEST show that the free antivirus apps are just as effective as the paid ones. As for the performance issues, AV-TEST's tests also show that these fears are unnecessary. All but 2 of the apps tested did not influence the phones performance.
AV-TEST tests Android antivirus apps every 4 months, and publishes their results for all to see on their website. The latest results for November can be found here.
An important notice must be given on these antivirus apps, as they do not work like the more familiar Windows antivirus programs. The Android antivirus apps will not remove the malware for you or move it to quarantine like most Windows antivirus programs will do. Malware is treated as any other app by the Android OS so you must uninstall the malware manually as you would other apps.
With more sensitive data being sent on our mobile devices through bank apps, credit card apps, etc. the need to secure them from prying eyes (or apps in this case) should also increase. Antivirus companies have made it easy for us by making free versions available so why not take advantage of their kindness?