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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why you don't need a task killer

I develop Android apps so I though I'd explain why a task killer isn't needed on an Android system.

Activities
Android apps use activites to preform tasks. For example, if you use a file manager to send a picture via email, the file manager calls the send activity within an email app, passes the file name to it and the email app sends the picture.. not the file manager. This will result in seeing the email app as "running" even though the user didn't actually launch that email app.

Smaller apps
Using activites helps developers design smaller apps. A file manager app that contains every bit of code needed to do everything a file manager does would likely be so large that no one would want to install it. Developers know that an android phone more than likely has an email app so there is no need for the developer to include email code in his/her file manager to send a picture when he/she can call an activity in an existing email app to do the job. This results in a smaller file manager app since there is no need to include email code or any other code for an activity that can be done via an app that is already present on the phone. This also alleviates redundant code. When you install an app outside of the android market, also known as sideloading, the file manager app calls the package installer (already present in Android) to install the requested app.

Running apps vs. cached apps
The "Manage Applications" list included in many android devices lists running apps as well as cached apps. Cached apps don't use any CPU or battery, they're cached so they will load faster the next time you need them. Killing cached apps results in those apps requiring more time to load the next time they are launched.

System management
By default, every android application runs in its own Linux process. Android starts the process when any of the application’s code (activities) needs to be executed, and shuts down the process when it’s no longer needed and system resources are required by other applications.

* Android is hard coded to automatically kill a task when more memory is needed.
* Android is hard coded to automatically kill a task when it’s done doing what it needs to do.
* Android is hard coded to automatically kill a task when you haven’t returned to it in a long time.
* Most services (while possibly running in the background) use very little memory when not actively doing something.
* A content provider is only doing something when there is a notification for it to give. Otherwise it uses very little memory.
* Killing a process when it isn’t ready only causes it to have to reload itself and start from scratch when it’s needed again.
* Because a task is likely running in the background for a reason, killing it will only cause it to re-spawn as soon as the activity that was using it looks for it again. And it will just have to start over again.
* Killing certain processes can have undesirable side effects. Not receiving text messages, alarms not going off, and force closes just to name a few.
* The only true way to prevent something from running at all on your phone would be to uninstall the .apk.
* Most applications will exit themselves if you get out of it by hitting “back” until it closes rather than hitting the “home” button. But even with hitting home, Android will eventually kill it once it’s been in the background for a while.

If you see an app running that you didn't launch, it's most likely because an activity within that app was called by another app to perform a task. If you kill the app you didn't launch, the system has to relaunch that app in order to complete its task. This is why some people kill a task and then see it immediately running again. Constantly killing that app creates a situation where the user is battling the system resulting in wasted system resources.

Android is Linux
Android is not a Windows-based OS, it is based on Linux. Many of the apps you think are running aren't actually running, they're cached, this is typical with a Linux operating system and is much more efficient than other systems. Cached apps don't use any CPU or battery, they're cached and will load faster the next time they're needed.

I hope this post will shed some light on task killers.

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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good post...

My only question would be:
Then why did the Andoid update, starting with Froyo, include a Task Killer with the OS?

If it's usless, why include it in the baseline operating system?

Just playing devils advocate. Once I got Froyo, I uninstalled my task killer, and have on occasion used the default one, specifically when some app has stopped but is still pounding my GPS and draining battery for no reason. Without task killer, I could watch the battery die, or reboot.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubSteeler View Post
Good post...

My only question would be:
Then why did the Andoid update, starting with Froyo, include a Task Killer with the OS?

If it's usless, why include it in the baseline operating system?

Just playing devils advocate. Once I got Froyo, I uninstalled my task killer, and have on occasion used the default one, specifically when some app has stopped but is still pounding my GPS and draining battery for no reason. Without task killer, I could watch the battery die, or reboot.
I'm not sure. Perhaps too many cooks in the kitchen? I'm simply posting what I learned from google coding recommendations for android.

Not every developer uses the same "perfect" coding methods and having apps that function outside of their intended purpose is inevitable. If you have an app that is constantly pounding your GPS then you have the choice of removing that app to replace it with one that performs its job a bit better or turning off GPS to conserve battery life.

An android system does a mind-boggling amount of work and expecting a long battery life while doing everything the device can do is not a good expectation.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Once again, good post.

I have one app inparticular, its a free golf range finder app, and it doesn't always exit gracefully, and keeps pounding the GPS. Other than that, I don't see benefit to having the task killer.

Now I might be nuts, but I sweat it was helpful with Android 2.1, but since teh 2.2 upgrade, I see no use for it.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the very interesting info. I am very new to Android and came from WM, so one of the first app i installed was an automatic task killer. After reading this right off it went...
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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubSteeler View Post
Once again, good post.

I have one app inparticular, its a free golf range finder app, and it doesn't always exit gracefully, and keeps pounding the GPS. Other than that, I don't see benefit to having the task killer.

Now I might be nuts, but I sweat it was helpful with Android 2.1, but since teh 2.2 upgrade, I see no use for it.
I would recommend contacting the developer of the app and letting them know what you are seeing. It could very well be there's a bug in the app that the developers are unaware of. User feedback is vital to developers.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This week the Gallery stopped opening on the Droid X; it would start to open, then immediately close. I happened to be near a Verizon store, and the very first advice I was given was to download and install a task killer.

When I told him I didn't want that but I could shut down all running apps with Go Launcher EX, he was sure that would fix the problem. It didn't, of course.

This isn't the first time that a Verizon rep suggested the need for a task killer.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Every now and then, I have a specific need to kill an app, so I'm glad there's a task killer included, though I rarely use it. It's just one of those "nice to have" things.

But anyway, I have a question-- everyone says a task or app is automatically killed if you haven't used it for a long time-- out of curiosity, any idea what that time is? Are we talking ten minutes or two hours?
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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardchoille View Post
I'm not sure. Perhaps too many cooks in the kitchen? I'm simply posting what I learned from google coding recommendations for android.

Not every developer uses the same "perfect" coding methods and having apps that function outside of their intended purpose is inevitable. If you have an app that is constantly pounding your GPS then you have the choice of removing that app to replace it with one that performs its job a bit better or turning off GPS to conserve battery life.

An android system does a mind-boggling amount of work and expecting a long battery life while doing everything the device can do is not a good expectation.
Good post. and I think the reason a task killer is included in Froyo is precisely for that reason: Some app developers aren't the greatest coders and have the app doing things the user did not want it to do.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofaresiii View Post
Every now and then, I have a specific need to kill an app, so I'm glad there's a task killer included, though I rarely use it. It's just one of those "nice to have" things.

But anyway, I have a question-- everyone says a task or app is automatically killed if you haven't used it for a long time-- out of curiosity, any idea what that time is? Are we talking ten minutes or two hours?
Depends. Say you had unlimited amounts of RAM, then there would be no need to *ever* (theoretically) close any apps from memory. It's only when memory becomes low does the android system kick out the oldest cached app. So if you open an app hit home and open 10 more apps, it'll be out of memory very quickly. and vice versa.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I thought there was actually a time-limit that it automatically closes some things after, in ADDITION to closing things to free up RAM?
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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofaresiii View Post
I thought there was actually a time-limit that it automatically closes some things after, in ADDITION to closing things to free up RAM?
I do not believe so since this would be inefficient. RAM is going to utilize the same amount of power whether it is fully used or not. Regardless there's going to have power going through it. So emptying it from RAM on time limit would not be super efficient.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardchoille View Post
I develop Android apps so I though I'd explain why a task killer isn't needed on an Android system.

Activities
Android apps use activites to preform tasks. For example, if you use a file manager to send a picture via email, the file manager calls the send activity within an email app, passes the file name to it and the email app sends the picture.. not the file manager. This will result in seeing the email app as "running" even though the user didn't actually launch that email app.

Smaller apps
Using activites helps developers design smaller apps. A file manager app that contains every bit of code needed to do everything a file manager does would likely be so large that no one would want to install it. Developers know that an android phone more than likely has an email app so there is no need for the developer to include email code in his/her file manager to send a picture when he/she can call an activity in an existing email app to do the job. This results in a smaller file manager app since there is no need to include email code or any other code for an activity that can be done via an app that is already present on the phone. This also alleviates redundant code. When you install an app outside of the android market, also known as sideloading, the file manager app calls the package installer (already present in Android) to install the requested app.

Running apps vs. cached apps
The "Manage Applications" list included in many android devices lists running apps as well as cached apps. Cached apps don't use any CPU or battery, they're cached so they will load faster the next time you need them. Killing cached apps results in those apps requiring more time to load the next time they are launched.

System management
By default, every android application runs in its own Linux process. Android starts the process when any of the applicationís code (activities) needs to be executed, and shuts down the process when itís no longer needed and system resources are required by other applications.

* Android is hard coded to automatically kill a task when more memory is needed.
* Android is hard coded to automatically kill a task when itís done doing what it needs to do.
* Android is hard coded to automatically kill a task when you havenít returned to it in a long time.
* Most services (while possibly running in the background) use very little memory when not actively doing something.
* A content provider is only doing something when there is a notification for it to give. Otherwise it uses very little memory.
* Killing a process when it isnít ready only causes it to have to reload itself and start from scratch when itís needed again.
* Because a task is likely running in the background for a reason, killing it will only cause it to re-spawn as soon as the activity that was using it looks for it again. And it will just have to start over again.
* Killing certain processes can have undesirable side effects. Not receiving text messages, alarms not going off, and force closes just to name a few.
* The only true way to prevent something from running at all on your phone would be to uninstall the .apk.
* Most applications will exit themselves if you get out of it by hitting ďbackĒ until it closes rather than hitting the ďhomeĒ button. But even with hitting home, Android will eventually kill it once itís been in the background for a while.

If you see an app running that you didn't launch, it's most likely because an activity within that app was called by another app to perform a task. If you kill the app you didn't launch, the system has to relaunch that app in order to complete its task. This is why some people kill a task and then see it immediately running again. Constantly killing that app creates a situation where the user is battling the system resulting in wasted system resources.

Android is Linux
Android is not a Windows-based OS, it is based on Linux. Many of the apps you think are running aren't actually running, they're cached, this is typical with a Linux operating system and is much more efficient than other systems. Cached apps don't use any CPU or battery, they're cached and will load faster the next time they're needed.

I hope this post will shed some light on task killers.

I disagree, not with the theory, maybe it should work like this, but it doesn't. I've noticed general lagging when swiping between screens and other activities, I go into a task killer, kill the apps that i don't need and it's much smoother afterwards. It **WILL** depend on what apps are running, yes, but to say App Killers are a waste of time/resources is too much of a sweeping statement.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 05:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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What happens if an app like the browser uses a lot of battery even when in the background and stays there for a long time before been killed off?
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Old May 29th, 2011, 06:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Dang it,

I am really confused about this whole process / task killer thing.

It's really strange... Linux and Unix themselves have a built in task killer and maybe thats where the Native / Built In Android Task Killer came from?

I don't really know.

Android is basically Linux Mobile I hope I am right lol

I don't really know enough about Linux to understand... dang it.

But I remember reading up about something called OOM Linux Killer or something like that or more commonly known as the "Out Of Memory Killer".

There is also a way to nuke any crazy / dogdey software running on Ubuntu / Linux with the kill command like in Android like they do here:

Kill process in Linux or terminate a process in UNIX or Linux systems

I am not too sure why Google on Android would have kept this feature if it was so bad for you but I don't really know that much about Android and Linux any way... :/

The OOM Killer that automatically nukes any running processes when ever the RAM limit is reached or too full.

Here:

How the Linux OOM killer works

And it also seems OOM was kept with Android and has not yet been removed from the original Linux Kernel in Android!

Here is what I am talking about:

Android Kernel Features - eLinux.org

But then it gets even weirder / stranger... because whenever I simply kill a whole bunch load of running Processes software on my Zenithink 7 UPAD my machine runs a whole load faster???

Just weird in my view.

I really don't get it.

Maybe some day if / when I learn more about Linux and Mobile linux / Android I will figure this out but for now I am just not too clued up on this at the moment.

I don't have all the knowledge right now ;(

Hopefully some one can explain it all to me some time in a nice way pretty please

Thanx in advance if you can explain this to me and my tiny brain!

Any wayz sorry for the long post!

Hahaha

Regards

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Old May 29th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you for the good explanantion.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 03:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Wouldn't you agree that closing applications/processes is good and necessary? In my opinion, Advanced Task Killer does great job of killing a bunch of apps quickly so that I don't have to do them individually (which takes time). My phone runs better after I've closed apps (whether manually or through a Task Killer).
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I think task killers are useless and border on detrimental, but if one makes you feel better, then by all means, use it.

I think a good cache cleaner can be more important than a task killer, particularly when it comes to occasional lag.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 11:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Wouldn't you agree that closing applications/processes is good and necessary?
No, actually I wouldn't. Most processes and apps that you see listed under running aren't running the sense that they are constantly consuming resources or preventing from other services or apps from gaining access to memory space when it is needed. Most are simply cached in memory awaiting a trigger so they may perform their function and then go back to waiting.

Quote:
In my opinion, Advanced Task Killer does great job of killing a bunch of apps quickly so that I don't have to do them individually (which takes time). My phone runs better after I've closed apps (whether manually or through a Task Killer).
If an app is poorly coded or experiences a fault that prevents it from operating normally, then killing it may be necessary. Arbitrarily killing groups of apps on a regular basis is unnecessary and detrimental to both battery life and possibly the phone itself. If you say your phone runs better after killing tasks, then I would locate the app(s) that are bogging your phone down and find an alternative or contact the developer about updating it to perform better.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 01:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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No, actually I wouldn't. Most processes and apps that you see listed under running aren't running the sense that they are constantly consuming resources or preventing from other services or apps from gaining access to memory space when it is needed. Most are simply cached in memory awaiting a trigger so they may perform their function and then go back to waiting.



If an app is poorly coded or experiences a fault that prevents it from operating normally, then killing it may be necessary. Arbitrarily killing groups of apps on a regular basis is unnecessary and detrimental to both battery life and possibly the phone itself. If you say your phone runs better after killing tasks, then I would locate the app(s) that are bogging your phone down and find an alternative or contact the developer about updating it to perform better.
In my experience, I have plenty (10-20) applications running simultaneously if I don't kill them each. There is no difference in closing apps with a task killer or manually. Any phone will be able to run faster and improve battery if there are fewer apps running. As I said in an earlier post, I choose to close them with an automated task manager (ATK). I am not talking about the 'rouge' apps - but rather every day apps that are running.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #21 (permalink)
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In my experience, I have plenty (10-20) applications running simultaneously if I don't kill them each. There is no difference in closing apps with a task killer or manually. Any phone will be able to run faster and improve battery if there are fewer apps running. As I said in an earlier post, I choose to close them with an automated task manager (ATK). I am not talking about the 'rouge' apps - but rather every day apps that are running.
I would recommend reading this:

Multitasking the Android Way

Posted by Tim Bray on 28 April 2010 at 11:41 AM
[This post is by Dianne Hackborn, a Software Engineer who sits very near the exact center of everything Android. ó Tim Bray]


It is important to understand how something works before an observational cause and effect relationship becomes distinguishable from folklore. For centuries people watched ships disappear over the horizon and thought they were falling off the edge of the earth. "Doctors", and most patients, believed that leeches drew bad humors from the blood because those with leeches applied to them would sometimes recover.

Every proponent of task killers has basically the same argument in favor of their use ó It works for me. I have no doubt that your phone improves when you kill your "running" apps. I am suggesting that it is not for the reasons you believe it to be. You may have a rogue app or a process that somehow fails to release the CPU because of coding or corruption. I really can't tell what's the exact reason for the difference in a pre-killed state vs. post-killed. If I had your phone and a little time to evaluate its current configuration, I could probably get it to a state where ATK would make zero difference in performance.

What I really find disturbing is the broad generalized statement you made indicated in bold. On the face of it, you will find many readers nodding their heads as if it were an obvious truism without understanding the underlying architecture. In fact the use of task killers, especially those that automatically kill tasks, degrade performance and consume more battery. Android's internal task manager is designed to utilize as many resources as possible in order to provide immediate access to the most used services. It will adjust those "running" services based on patterns of use and will learn over time which processes are best kept cached and which to forget when more resources are required by new processes. If you kill those processes, which are not consuming any resources, but simply saved in a cached state, Android will attempt to either load new services or reload the killed processes in order to have full use of the resources. Automated task killers often get caught in a loop where regularly used processes are stopped and restarted causing excessive power drain.

Think of it this way ... a task killer is like an antibiotic and then claiming antibiotics cure fevers. Four people go to the doctor, each with elevated temperatures. They all demand antibiotics because they heard you must take them to cure fevers. The first has a bacterial infection and responds to the medication because it is designed to be effective against that type of infection. The second has a viral infection and his condition also improves. However, the antibiotics are irrelevant as it his own natural immune system fighting off the infection. The third has been out working in the hot sun and is dehydrated making him feel feverish even though he has no infection. The antibiotics are taken with water and he rests inside which restores him to feeling healthy. The fourth individual does have an infection but it is because he is shot in the leg. While the antibiotics do begin to control the infection, he dies from loss of blood. In only one case was the "cure" appropriate, even though observationally there is a 75% success rate.

The blanket application of task killers as a performance boosting method is equally misleading.

If you find your phone to be slow and experiencing performance issues and the use of a task killer temporarily fixes the problem for you, and you wish to continue that way, by all means. It is your phone, after all, and you are free to use it anyway you like. However, you may be doing others a disservice by recommending a solution that will cause more problems and not resolve their issues.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 04:14 PM   #22 (permalink)
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That is not a very good argument (although it has some great stories!) The ironic thing is that this argument, and most others, simply disregard a lot of facts. Will a phone work faster with 2 or 30 apps running? I am not talking about rogue apps.... just normal apps. I would argue 2. And Task Killers allow you to efficiently close the apps rather than closing them manually.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #23 (permalink)
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That is not a very good argument (although it has some great stories!) The ironic thing is that this argument, and most others, simply disregard a lot of facts.
Then please explain why the argument is weak and list the facts it ignores.

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Will a phone work faster with 2 or 30 apps running? I am not talking about rogue apps.... just normal apps. I would argue 2. And Task Killers allow you to efficiently close the apps rather than closing them manually.
If we were talking about Windows mobile, perhaps your observations would have merit, but we are discussing Android. You are incorrectly applying a different memory management paradigm to the argument.

1. If you are travelling down the highway with 2 cars every mile or 30 cars every mile, does it make sense that you'd go faster with fewer cars?

2. They permit you to effectively kill processes, but they will be restarted immediately consuming CPU cycles and battery.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 04:28 PM   #24 (permalink)
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That is not a very good argument (although it has some great stories!) The ironic thing is that this argument, and most others, simply disregard a lot of facts. Will a phone work faster with 2 or 30 apps running? I am not talking about rogue apps.... just normal apps. I would argue 2. And Task Killers allow you to efficiently close the apps rather than closing them manually.
Do you use apps that continually run on your phone? When an app is loaded, it may not be running if the app has nothing to do. A well designed app should not be running if it does not need to do anything. It may only be running when you switch to the app and actually use the app. My understanding of Android is that the task manager shows which apps are loaded into the system and not necessarily indicate which are actually running.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 02:17 AM   #25 (permalink)
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1. If you are travelling down the highway with 2 cars every mile or 30 cars every mile, does it make sense that you'd go faster with fewer cars?

Presently, i am just a begginner in the Android field. But i loved this analogue. Must Say.. ^_^ ..
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Old June 11th, 2011, 02:40 AM   #26 (permalink)
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And Task Killers allow you to efficiently close the apps rather than closing them manually.
From the OP:
Android apps use activites to preform tasks. For example, if you use a file manager to send a picture via email, the file manager calls the send activity within an email app, passes the file name to it and the email app sends the picture.. not the file manager. This will result in seeing the email app as "running" even though the user didn't actually launch that email app.

Example: App A is in the process of completing a task that the user asked of it. App A needs an activity from App B in order to complete that task so the system starts App B. The user now sees App B running when he/she didn't launch App B so the user kills App B. Now the system must restart App B in order to complete the task that App A was trying to complete. This is why users often kill an app and then see it immediately restart - the system is trying to do what was asked of it.

Let's say you have the task of removing a screw from a machine. You can't do it with your finger (App A) so you grab a screwdriver (App B). Ok, you found a screwdriver and began removing the screw but someone takes the screwdriver away from you as soon as you began removing the screw. You're now stuck looking for a screwdriver so you can complete the task. Imagine someone taking the screwdriver away from you every time you grabbed a screwdriver, the task would never be completed. This is what is happening every time the system launches and app to complete a task, the user kills the app and the system relaunches it.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 03:16 AM   #27 (permalink)
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In fact the use of task killers, especially those that automatically kill tasks, degrade performance and consume more battery. Android's internal task manager is designed to utilize as many resources as possible in order to provide immediate access to the most used services. It will adjust those "running" services based on patterns of use and will learn over time which processes are best kept cached and which to forget when more resources are required by new processes. If you kill those processes, which are not consuming any resources, but simply saved in a cached state, Android will attempt to either load new services or reload the killed processes in order to have full use of the resources.

Great post lunatic. Unfortunately, some people will refuse to believe the truth because the lies are so convenient. (See: Obama, birth certificate.)
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Old June 11th, 2011, 02:44 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I am not arguing that Android is not designed to do multitasking. FYI I am an executive in a software company and know a great deal about it. I use task killers to efficiently close applications.

Yes, sometimes they need to be opened again (but given that I close 15-20 tasks per every 1 that I reopen) then that is a good trade-off.

Yes, sometimes there are rogue apps that need to be closed but that is the exception in my case.

Personally, I don't think Task Killers are the "panacea" or silver bullet for everyone's phone issues, but overall my performance on the running apps is much better and battery life is much better too since I started using a task killer.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 03:02 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Great post lunatic. Unfortunately, some people will refuse to believe the truth because the lies are so convenient. (See: Obama, birth certificate.)
It is actually the opposite that I think happens in this case: many people are conveniently believing that Task Killers are the problem aren't hearing the truth and are making statements against task managers based on generalizations.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #30 (permalink)
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It is actually the opposite that I think happens in this case: many people are conveniently believing that Task Killers are the problem aren't hearing the truth and are making statements against task managers based on generalizations.
Quote:
... The ironic thing is that this argument, and most others, simply disregard a lot of facts.
Then please tell us the truth. Share your executive knowledge and experience beyond "overall my performance on the running apps is much better and battery life is much better too since I started using a task killer." That is what these forums are supposed to be about.

I would prefer not to be argumentative, but I can't just drop this for the simple reason (as demonstrated by Stinky's post) that people will come here in search of information and leave confused when people present theories as facts, with nothing other than opinion and anecdote to support them. If I am wrong it will not only help with my understanding of Android, but be beneficial for the entire community.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 03:57 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I am not arguing that Android is not designed to do multitasking. FYI I am an executive in a software company and know a great deal about it. I use task killers to efficiently close applications.

Yes, sometimes they need to be opened again (but given that I close 15-20 tasks per every 1 that I reopen) then that is a good trade-off.

Yes, sometimes there are rogue apps that need to be closed but that is the exception in my case.

Personally, I don't think Task Killers are the "panacea" or silver bullet for everyone's phone issues, but overall my performance on the running apps is much better and battery life is much better too since I started using a task killer.
See above
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Old June 11th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #32 (permalink)
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many people are conveniently believing that Task Killers are the problem aren't hearing the truth and are making statements against task managers based on generalizations.
There's a big difference between managing tasks, which may include closing them gracefully, and killing them, which usually doesn't. Back in the days of Cupcake killing tasks was often necessary to avoid low-memory situations, as the OS was too conservative and usually you got away with it. Do that with Froyo/Gingerbread however and the chances are that you'll just confuse the OS as it will already have scheduled a clean-up. Do it continually and you end up consuming the very resources you intended to free up as you and the OS argue over what is (or isn't) "running".

You may already have seen this article, but if not it's a pretty good explanation of why task killers are unnecessary.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #33 (permalink)
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There's a big difference between managing tasks, which may include closing them gracefully, and killing them, which usually doesn't. Back in the days of Cupcake killing tasks was often necessary to avoid low-memory situations, as the OS was too conservative and usually you got away with it. Do that with Froyo/Gingerbread however and the chances are that you'll just confuse the OS as it will already have scheduled a clean-up. Do it continually and you end up consuming the very resources you intended to free up as you and the OS argue over what is (or isn't) "running".

You may already have seen this article, but if not it's a pretty good explanation of why task killers are unnecessary.

Yes, I have read that article in the past and again recently. That article is one of the one's I was referring to regarding many people jumping on the anti-task killer bandwagon with generalizations.

In my experience, the task killers work if you set up the ignore lists properly in order to not close any processes/apps that shouldn't be closed.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 06:37 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Yes, I have read that article in the past and again recently. That article is one of the one's I was referring to regarding many people jumping on the anti-task killer bandwagon with generalizations.

In my experience, the task killers work if you set up the ignore lists properly in order to not close any processes/apps that shouldn't be closed.
How do we know which apps shouldn't be closed? Android apps use activites to preform tasks. For example, if you use a file manager to send a picture via email, the file manager calls the send activity within an email app, passes the file name to it and the email app sends the picture.. not the file manager. This will result in seeing the email app as "running" even though the user didn't actually launch that email app.

Suppose you have an app that isn't listed in the ignore list but an activity within that app is being used by another app. If you close the app that is being used the system must restart it from scratch to complete the task that it was trying to complete. If you close it again the system has to restart it again. This creates a situation where the user is battling the system.. wasting system resources.

The best practice would be to place every app on the phone in the ignore list. But then you wouldn't need a task killer, would you?
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Old June 11th, 2011, 06:59 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I'm actually not surprised that you are an executive. Not trying to be insulting here, but you honestly sound just like one.






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Old June 11th, 2011, 07:16 PM   #36 (permalink)
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In my experience, the task killers work if you set up the ignore lists properly in order to not close any processes/apps that shouldn't be closed.
Do me a favor. Post your kill list.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 08:42 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I'm actually not surprised that you are an executive. Not trying to be insulting here, but you honestly sound just like one.






That is pretty funny! I hope it didn't sound arrogant! However, I am just trying to give anyone reading the post some sense of my background in software without posting a resume.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #38 (permalink)
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How do we know which apps shouldn't be closed? Android apps use activites to preform tasks. For example, if you use a file manager to send a picture via email, the file manager calls the send activity within an email app, passes the file name to it and the email app sends the picture.. not the file manager. This will result in seeing the email app as "running" even though the user didn't actually launch that email app.

Suppose you have an app that isn't listed in the ignore list but an activity within that app is being used by another app. If you close the app that is being used the system must restart it from scratch to complete the task that it was trying to complete. If you close it again the system has to restart it again. This creates a situation where the user is battling the system.. wasting system resources.

The best practice would be to place every app on the phone in the ignore list. But then you wouldn't need a task killer, would you?
The phone is not a parallel system - meaning unlimited processor resources to run apps (even if Linux can run parallel). If you are running many apps then the system will show performance degradation. On my phone, I have downloaded well over 70 apps. I use ATK to efficiently close apps.

In my case I let it close most apps except ones like Lockout (find my phone), calendar, text messaging, ultra keyboard, Juicedender, and a few processes that ATK recommended.

If you don't have a lot of apps, then prehaps a Task Killer isn't needed.
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You are making two assumptions about how Android works. They are both wrong. (If they were right, what you said is logical and makes sense.)

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If you are running many apps then the system will show performance degradation.
You accept this statement as if it is a fact. It isn't.

If the system is designed to handle multiprocessing well, then the system will automatically adjust to the "load" you place on it, and the user will not notice any degradation in performance.


Quote:
Any phone will be able to run faster and improve battery if there are fewer apps running.
This is the second major thing that you have said wrong. (Note: it's not the same as the first thing I quoted.)

Just because an app is loaded into memory does not mean that it's ACTIVE or even DOING ANYTHING. It's just sitting there, waiting for you to ask for it.


Read the post from lunatic that I quoted above. Read it AGAIN and let your mind be open to the possibility that Android is different then you assume it is.


If you aren't able to accept that your assumptions might be incorrect, then trying to educate you on "why task killers aren't needed" is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 03:00 AM   #40 (permalink)
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So, I've been trying to think of a simple analogy for this, but I wasn't having any luck until now. Maybe this will help make the point clear.

You have a standard DVD player, and 6 DVD movies that you would like to watch. This DVD player has limited capacity (only 1 DVD at a time). If you are in the middle of watching movie #1, but want to switch to movie #2, then you would have to stop #1 and switch out the DVD. If you try to put two DVDs in at the same time, it won't function correctly.

The above is how you view Android to work.

Android is actually more like a DVD player that can hold 6 DVDs at once. So, you put all 6 of your DVDs into the player and start watching #1.

In the middle of movie #1 you decide to switch to DVD #2. The player will pause #1, remember where you stopped watching, and then start playing movie #2.

If you want to switch back to #1, the player will pause #2 (remembering where you were) and resume playing #1 immediately.

Now, with this 6 disc player, you can see that it is better for you to put all 6 DVDs in at the beginning, even if you aren't sure you will watch them all right now. Why? Because if you want to switch later, it's must faster to switch if the DVD is in the player already.

Your Task Killer is like you removing the DVDs from the player and putting them back in the case. If you want to switch to that DVD again later, you've lost where you were and you have to spend more time now to put the DVD back into the player. You've created "empty space" in the player, and that actually makes it slower (and more resource intensive) to switch to another movie.



"But wait!", you say. What if I have 7 DVDs? Then I've overloaded the system, and everything will slow down.

Wrong.

You see, our Android DVD player comes with a robotic DVD storage rack. It can actually store 100s of DVDs, but it keeps 6 of them "active" and ready for viewing all the time. Your DVD player knows which movies you have paused (not finished watching) and keeps those available for you to go back to quickly. When you finish a movie though, the player knows you aren't likely to come back to it soon and it allows that DVD to be replaced with a new one. Your Android DVD player also knows which movies you watch most often, so if there is "empty space that you aren't using" it will try to predict what you need and fill that space.

The Android philosophy is that it's better to have 6 DVDs loaded and ready for you to access immediately all the time, instead of having empty unused space just sitting there.

Not the perfect analogy, but hopefully you can see the point.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #41 (permalink)
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I think it is a close enough analogy.

Pity that some people still hang on task killers. I guess old habits die hard...
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Old June 12th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HankAtrix View Post
If you are running many apps then the system will show performance degradation. On my phone, I have downloaded well over 20 oapps. I use ATK to efficiently close apps.
This is a logical fallacy. Argumentum petitio principii ("Begging the question"). Your conclusion is only true if we assume that the apps are, in fact running, ie. consuming cpu cycles and putting a load on the processor. In fact, though they are listed by the Android system as "running" they are in a saved and cached state and not degrading the performance of the CPU for other tasks.

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In my case I let it close most apps except ones like Lockout (find my phone), calendar, text messaging, ultra keyboard, Juicedender, and a few processes that ATK recommended.

If you don't have a lot of apps, then prehaps a Task Killer isn't needed.
Your second logical fallacy is post-hoc or "confusing causation with association". Simply put, just because two things occur together does not establish a cause and effect. In your case, just because there is a performance boost (real or perceived) following the use of a task killer, does not necessarily mean that the action of killing those tasks was responsible for that boost.

I want you to do a simple test. Install Watchdog lite if you don't have it already. It's free and you may uninstall when done, although it's a handy little app. Once installed, use your phone for a while without killing any tasks. Then open Watchdog and click on the CPU tab and enable real-time CPU. In my case, since you put so much stock into personal experience, there are 31 tasks listed as "running". Only 2 are putting any kind of a load on the CPU. The rest are sitting idle at 0%.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by amlothi View Post
You are making two assumptions about how Android works. They are both wrong. (If they were right, what you said is logical and makes sense.)



You accept this statement as if it is a fact. It isn't.

If the system is designed to handle multiprocessing well, then the system will automatically adjust to the "load" you place on it, and the user will not notice any degradation in performance.

Yes - it is designed to run multiprocessing well (and does a fantastic job). Much better than the IPhone or Blackberry. However, there is a point that having apps running takes processing and memory. If you left every app open, what would happen? Slow performance. There is not a person that I have talked to or read about that doesn't have degredation of performance if many apps are running.




This is the second major thing that you have said wrong. (Note: it's not the same as the first thing I quoted.)

Just because an app is loaded into memory does not mean that it's ACTIVE or even DOING ANYTHING. It's just sitting there, waiting for you to ask for it.


Read the post from lunatic that I quoted above. Read it AGAIN and let your mind be open to the possibility that Android is different then you assume it is.


If you aren't able to accept that your assumptions might be incorrect, then trying to educate you on "why task killers aren't needed" is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.
I know how Android works. My read is that Lunatic clearly is anti-task killer (which makes 100% sense if he is a developer). He doesn't want his apps to be closed. Also, Lunagic is simply reposting most of his original post from another post by someone else.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunatic59 View Post
This is a logical fallacy. Argumentum petitio principii ("Begging the question"). Your conclusion is only true if we assume that the apps are, in fact running, ie. consuming cpu cycles and putting a load on the processor. In fact, though they are listed by the Android system as "running" they are in a saved and cached state and not degrading the performance of the CPU for other tasks.



Your second logical fallacy is post-hoc or "confusing causation with association". Simply put, just because two things occur together does not establish a cause and effect. In your case, just because there is a performance boost (real or perceived) following the use of a task killer, does not necessarily mean that the action of killing those tasks was responsible for that boost.

I want you to do a simple test. Install Watchdog lite if you don't have it already. It's free and you may uninstall when done, although it's a handy little app. Once installed, use your phone for a while without killing any tasks. Then open Watchdog and click on the CPU tab and enable real-time CPU. In my case, since you put so much stock into personal experience, there are 31 tasks listed as "running". Only 2 are putting any kind of a load on the CPU. The rest are sitting idle at 0%.
With all due respect, it is you that is making the conclusions that ATK is unnecessary based simply on an article. Back to my original question: Would your phone run better if it runs 2 apps or 20. Despite Androids design to do multitasking, it still (like any other unix or other operating system) will be bogged done. It will do it (because that is how it is designed) but the performance is hurt running 20 apps.

If your assumption was right, you could run as many apps as you want without degradation (with would work if you had a massively parallel system but you don't)
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Old June 12th, 2011, 10:59 AM   #45 (permalink)
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I know how Android works. My read is that Lunatic clearly is anti-task killer (which makes 100% sense if he is a developer).
Then your read would be completely inaccurate, as seem to be your assumptions about Android. I am neither "pro" not "anti" task killer per se. What I am opposed to is the improper use of any tool and recommending to those less informed that they will do things they will not. The use of a task killer with Android 2.2 or later is unnecessary and potentially detrimental. Recommending their use to improve performance is irresponsible.

Quote:
Also, Lunagic is simply reposting most of his original post from another post by someone else.
Another logical fallacy ... Argumentum ad hominem. If you can't discredit the argument, discredit the person making the argument. This is patently offensive. If you are going to accuse someone of plagiarism, please cite sources.

Unfortunately, if you repeat a claim often enough (and one with no evidence to support it, in this case), some people will begin to think it has merit. It is only for those who stumble upon this thread that I continue to try and shed some light on the misunderstandings and misuse of task killers on Android devices.

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Would your phone run better if it runs 2 apps or 20. Despite Androids design to do multitasking, it still (like any other unix or other operating system) will be bogged done. It will do it (because that is how it is designed) but the performance is hurt running 20 apps.

If your assumption was right, you could run as many apps as you want without degradation (with would work if you had a massively parallel system but you don't)
One last time. It would ONLY be true IF the phone was ACTUALLY RUNNING those apps.

Let's say I was truly multi tasking by being on a phone call with my wife, surfing the web to find a restaurant and using maps to get directions. During the course of the call, I receive a text message from my son asking me to pick him up and I also get a notification that one of my apps was just auto-updated. Yes, of course performance will be affected as indeed all of those apps are running.

That is not the issue. The issue is killing tasks. If I kill any one of those things while they are in use, it will immediately stop the process. The phone call will end, my directions will not route, I can't surf the web, etc. It renders the phone useless. If I stop using those apps, then performance returns without the use of a task killer, because those apps become saved in state and no longer put a load on the CPU. Now, IF one of those apps CONTINUES to use processor cycles, then in that instance a task killer would be necessary. But, that is a rogue app and should not be used until the developer corrects the situation.

Your assumption that once a task begins it continues to run until killed is completely erroneous.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 01:01 PM   #46 (permalink)
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That is an overgeneralization: some apps will be in memory and some apps will not.

Here is some additional quantitative truth: I ran Quadrant on my phone before I ran ATK and scored a 1624. I then simply hit ATK once to close the apps and scored 2022.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 01:37 PM   #47 (permalink)
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That is an overgeneralization: some apps will be in memory and some apps will not.

Here is some additional quantitative truth: I ran Quadrant on my phone before I ran ATK and scored a 1624. I then simply hit ATK once to close the apps and scored 2022.
You know, if we keep this up we may just hit the 20 most commonly used logical fallacies. The comment above is argumentum ad consequentiam (Appeal to consequences). Simply stated it is providing a premise with a positive outcome to distract from the original argument.

I have no doubt that you can kill processes to improve your benchmark, and if the purpose of an Android phone was simply to run benchmarks, then your truth would have merit. That is not the discussion.

I think we have beat this issue up enough and there is enough information contained within the various links to allow people to educate themselves and draw their own conclusions. Have a good day.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 02:03 PM   #48 (permalink)
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This thread is a good read
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Old June 12th, 2011, 02:13 PM   #49 (permalink)
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In DIY auto mechanics one of the first tools most people acquire is affectionately referred to as a "butt-dyno". It's that device in the seat of your pants that tells you that you've gained 10 horsepower after installing your new K&N filter and are actually going faster than before. In reality, it's nearly always wrong.

It would seem Android has a butt-dyno, and its name is Task Killer.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 02:27 PM   #50 (permalink)
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You know, if we keep this up we may just hit the 20 most commonly used logical fallacies. The comment above is argumentum ad consequentiam (Appeal to consequences). Simply stated it is providing a premise with a positive outcome to distract from the original argument.

I have no doubt that you can kill processes to improve your benchmark, and if the purpose of an Android phone was simply to run benchmarks, then your truth would have merit. That is not the discussion.

I think we have beat this issue up enough and there is enough information contained within the various links to allow people to educate themselves and draw their own conclusions. Have a good day.
With all due respect - you are staying that Task Killers are not useful with Android. My argument is that running fewer apps leads to better performance and that Task Killers are an efficient way to kill apps if you set the ignore list up properly. I ran a benchmark as part of my education process and want to share the results. It speaks directly to the premise - my phone runs 30% faster if I kill apps.
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