multitasking


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  1. samuelmaskell

    samuelmaskell Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I seem to be realizing more and more every day that android actually really sucks at multitasking. What is up with that? The pre makes me rather jealous in that respect. Sure, it's usually not that big of a deal but it just should be better. It seems like all the apps I don't want to keep running do, and the ones that I do, don't. Any game will keep running after I'm done with it(and cannot be closed without the use of a 3rd party task killer - that's just pitiful) but if I want to look something up while I'm writing an email or a text message I have to save it as a draft. That just doesn't make any sense. The least google can do is include a task manager. If I didn't have advanced task manager, my phone would be laggy as hell because about half of my apps start when I start up my phone for no apparent reason and keep running. I can use advanced task manager and that's all well and good but I shouldn't HAVE to. Personally, this seems like a fairly big flaw to me. I love android and I'm sure I'll stick with it but I'd really really like to seem something similar to the "cards" idea with the pre. I love to make fun of the iPhone for not being able to multitask but that's almost hard to do with the state android is in right now. any thoughts?
     

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  2. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    Actually your phone shouldn't get laggy from applications in the background, as they pretty much take up no CPU cycles at all.... Yes the phone could use a task manager from default, I agree, And actually the Andriod multitasks quite well if you payed attention to what you said, the apps staying open? Thats called multitasking.
     
  3. lekky

    lekky Lover VIP Member

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    Um, hard to multitask with the android? I was going to blast into a huge post, but instead I'll just say see above.
     
  4. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps the OP is really referring to three different things here; 1. _easily_ switching between open apps (multitasking); 2. Apps that open at startup; and 3. Having to "kill" apps with a 3rd party task manager.

    1. If this is what the OP meant, (and I think it was because he refers to the Pre's "cards"), then I agree. I wish there were an easier way (a more "transparent" way?) of switching between my open apps. On the Pre you can "swipe" between open cards, much like hitting Alt-Tab on your keyboard in Windows. That is very cool, makes it easier to switch between open apps, and makes it _seem_ like it's true multi-tasking because you see the switch from app to app. This is a psychological thing, and it's a very important part of product design.

    By comparsion on android, to get from one app to another you have some choices. You can hold down the Home key (on the Magic anyway) to get a list of the most recently used apps, or you can "exit" the app you are in by hitting the Home key and then "relaunch" another app, or you can use some third party software like a Task Manager, or TasKiller, or something similar.

    The home key trick is probably closest to easily switching between open apps, but it doesn't have the "flair" of the Pre's cards.

    As far as exiting an app by pressing the Home button, and then "relaunching" the app you want to switch to, this is the psychological part of product design again. We are used to using our computers to run multiple apps at the same time, and we can see them all running by looking at the task bar or hitting Alt-Tab. In Android, multiple apps are still in memory in the background, but to switch between these apps you have to "exit" the app you are in (which _feels_ like closing it), find the icon for the app you want to go back to (which may be on another screen or in your tray), and then press the icon just like you did when you first launched that app originally. This doesn't feel like the multi-tasking we are used to on the computer, because it feels like you are exiting and relaunching apps all the time. Yes, techincally the apps are running in the background, but it's the way you have to switch between them that makes it feel like it's not. That psychology is very important in product design.

    Then there are third party apps. You can switch between running apps with something like TasKiller, but you still have to exit the app you are in and launch TasKiller to get at that list. It's cumbersome. Switching should be easy. There is an app (can't remember the name at the moment) that lets you put an icon in your notification bar, so you can pull down the bar to get at it, but you still have to launch it from there to get in to the app to switch programs. Too many steps.

    A simple, elegant way to give us "app switching" (instead of saying multi-tasking) with the existing system would be an app or patch that puts the list of currently running apps in the pull down menu from the Notification Bar (what the hell is that thing called? I can never remember). That way no matter what app you are in, just flick down the notification bar tray (?) with your thumb, and press the app you want to switch to, and boom, you're there.

    2. Apps that open at startup. This isn't about multi-tasking. It is, however, really annoying. It annoys the crap out of me. I wish Devs would either stop their apps from doing it, or Google should insist that every app have an option in its setup menu so users can stop it from running at startup. I know there are apps that can do this (one called Startup Auditor I believe) unfortunately for some of us, they are paid apps, and in Canada we don't have access to paid apps.

    3. Having to "kill" apps. Google should insist that all devs include an actual "close" button/option in their apps so that users can, if they want, truly exit an app so that it is NOT running in the background. I know, I know, Android is built to handle these things and reclaim the memory from these apps when it is needed. However, some of us are control freaks and some of us are maybe paranoid about what those apps are doing in the background. It comes down to this; It's MY phone, _I_ want to choose what's happening on it. I shouldn't have to switch to a third-party app to accomplish this.
     
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  5. samuelmaskell

    samuelmaskell Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I have a feeling that you guys aren't quite getting what I was saying..

    obviously android CAN multitask. I'm not saying that it doesn't do it very well. Part of my post is complaining in about switching between them being cumbersome but also it is about how there are some apps that do not stay open. If you read my original post you will see that I gave an example of this. When writing an email or a text message, if you want to check something, you have to save it as a draft because the email and text messaging apps do not stay open. I'd hardly call it multitasking when you have to save the message as a draft, go do something else and then come back, re-open the app, find that message, click on it and then start typing again. Other than the browser, I'd say those two things are the most important things to have stay open. And like I said, a ton of things do stay open, but those are the things that I do not want to stay open. It just doesn't make sense to me. There should be an easy way to decide which apps you want to stay open and which apps you don't.

    As for the lagging thing..
    it may not use much processing power but it sure as hell uses up ram. When I first start my phone I have about 60mb free ram but then I kill a bunch of apps and I have about 85mb. That makes a big difference. 30% of my free ram is being used up by apps that I never even wanted to have open.
     
  6. Michaelad

    Michaelad Member

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    Which phone do you have OP? usually have about 45mb free ram.
     
  7. samuelmaskell

    samuelmaskell Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I've got the rogers magic running myhero 2.0.5
     
  8. falltime

    falltime Well-Known Member

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    One MAJOR (for me) multitasking flaw in Android, is that the video player will not work in the background. example, lets say you are watching a news video and talking head says something ridiculous, I want to be able to look it up WITHOUT shutting off the video (listen to audio while in background) [Id also like to be able to shut off screen during videos cause sometimes I only need to listen - commercials for example].
    Even the NON-multitasking Ipod Touch (and my 8 year old HP 2215 w/ WM 2003) was capable of this.
    Should be addressed soon.
     
  9. samuelmaskell

    samuelmaskell Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Exactly my point
    that's another place where android's multitasking ability completely fails.
    it's very annoying.
     
  10. psu9495

    psu9495 Member

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    I think mjschmidt really nailed something that I've been feeling since I got my Eris. I, as a lot of others on here, have been worrying about tweaking this and that setting, turning this or that off or on, and weighing the pros and cons of a task killer, in an attempt to speed up the phone and save the battery. (More so the latter.) Wouldn't all this be simpler if the OS simply allowed us to multitask when we wanted? The glory of the Android OS was supposed to be that we can customize and make the phone do what we want, look like we want, etc. But as if the developers are simply trying to prove a point that Android can multitask, they FORCE us to multitask! Isn't this a bit contradictory?

    Just give us the option to multitask, but don't shove it down our throats. Any time you hit the home screen to leave an App, why can't there be an OS setting that makes a query pop up and ask if we want to close the App or not. Hit NO, and the App stays running while we go to the Home screen. Hit YES, and the App closes while we go to the home screen. Simple. No need for controversial 3rd party Task Managers and Killers. And for those who want to push their device and battery to the limit and not be bothered, they can just change the setting so it never asks you the question.

    And yes, when we do choose/need to mutlitask, there certainly needs to be more transparency and simplicity switching Apps, as others have pointed out. As it sits now, we're forced to mutiltask without the cool feeling that we're multitasking. All while sweating over the battery life!

    Don't get me wrong, I love my phone. It's my first smartphone. But I hate that lack of control this presents.
     
  11. lekky

    lekky Lover VIP Member

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    Very good points, I wonder if it may be an option in the future, but the best thing about android is it lets us do so much with 3rd party apps, and thats the real value.

    For instance I DO have a close button, for every app. When I am done with something and don't want to keep it open, i simply press "Close" in my notification bar and voila its gone. So I really don't experience any of the problems the OP has.

    Btw, the app is called Force Close Button, get it free here:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. marstodd

    marstodd Active Member

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    I think you just need an exit button X for any 'application' (which to me is closing a window).
    Instead I do 'back' constantly to try to get to something else I was doing.
    I was able to look at all open windows (ok, APPS) at one point, but could not close any of course. I needed that.
    I returned the phone in less than a day (did not have a real keyboard and that made it so much more painful). for a different one diff brand (Moto).
    But to be positive, the Back function is very good! Having an application stack (need Forward!) is a good thing. You can go back but how do you go forward?
    Todd.
     
  13. ajuarbe

    ajuarbe Well-Known Member

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    I really don't have any issues with my phone, but I can understand the frustration. One thing I was wondering about what the OP said is that he has to save a text as a draft if he needs to all of a sudden do something else. On my Sprint Hero, if I am writing a text and hit the home button to do something else, when I go back to the messaging app it is still there and I just continue where I left off. I have never had to save a draft, but maybe it is phone specific.
     
  14. samuelmaskell

    samuelmaskell Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    does no one else care about the fact that you can't multitask with some things? That's kind of more what I was getting at. Why can't I keep my mail and text messaging apps? Why can't a keep a video open(but paused) while I go check something else?
     
  15. lekky

    lekky Lover VIP Member

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    I get a bit annoyed about the the whole not being able to keep some text open, i just do a cut all, go do my other thing, come back and past. Its not that fussy, but i can understand the frustrations about having to use a workaround (even though it works quite well :p )
     
  16. dolving999

    dolving999 Member

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    Hey there, I have this little problem: I want to download the Force Close Button app, but if I scan the code with the barcode scanner, it just leads me to the market and shows "no apps found". How can I download it?

    Thanks
     
  17. marstodd

    marstodd Active Member

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    Go to the market on the phone and type in 'force close' and search for it. it's a paid app. Can search using the name.
     
  18. lekky

    lekky Lover VIP Member

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    What country are you in? Some countrys can't access paid apps yet..
     
  19. dolving999

    dolving999 Member

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    Hum, you're probably right, because I'm from Portugal. Btw, when are paid apps suposed to be avaiable round here?
     
  20. marstodd

    marstodd Active Member

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    I found the EStrong free task manager, and file manager to be very good, and the task manager is good for closing apps. Why is the Force Close Button app better? Is it easier to use?
     
  21. RogerPodacter

    RogerPodacter Well-Known Member

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    I too am really starting to hate the way my nexus one handles multitasking. This thread is exactly my problem as well. When I minimize opera mini the OS sometimes decides to close it even if I switched away only 10 seconds ago, yet it pre loaded 7 other apps that I haven't opened in a month. Simply horrible implementation no matter how you try to spin it. Very frustrating.

    The stock browser is another example. It reloads a page that is already cached and visible on the page.
     
  22. mrmojoz

    mrmojoz Well-Known Member

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    I see alot of people in here confusing the way Android handles multitasking vs the way applications are written to act when they lose the primary focus.
     
  23. RogerPodacter

    RogerPodacter Well-Known Member

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    Trust me I understand that opera mini is not coded correctly to save the app state when the OS does decide to kill it. That's not the point of my complaint; hopefully when opera leaves beta this will be fixed.

    My complaint is the way in which the OS decided to kill this app AT ALL, when the user was JUST using it moments ago, in favor of pre loading a bunch of apps that the user has not used in weeks. Surely the OS should be giving priority to apps that were most recently used over apps that I only use once a month, like sms backup. I use that once a month to backup my texts. Under no circumstances do I EVER want that app pre loaded/cached into memory.

    The OS does not give the user any control, and it always picks the wrong apps anyway to cache. So the end result is that the OS is doing the exact opposite of what they intended it to do. They wanted it to cache apps to make it faster for the user to multitask. Yet the OS is picking the complete wrong apps to cache and kill, thus making it take LONGER to multitask.

    There has to be a way to tell the OS these are the apps I want to use and be cached, and these are the apps I DON'T care about. But just letting the OS arbitrarily pick these itself makes no sense whatsoever. And leads to a poorer user experience then if they just left it alone in the first place.
     
  24. RogerPodacter

    RogerPodacter Well-Known Member

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    Trust me I understand that opera mini is not coded correctly to save the app state when the OS does decide to kill it. That's not the point of my complaint; hopefully when opera leaves beta this will be fixed.

    My complaint is the way in which the OS decided to kill this app AT ALL, when the user was JUST using it moments ago, in favor of pre loading a bunch of apps that the user has not used in weeks. Surely the OS should be giving priority to apps that were most recently used over apps that I only use once a month, like sms backup. I use that once a month to backup my texts. Under no circumstances do I EVER want that app pre loaded/cached into memory.

    The OS does not give the user any control, and it always picks the wrong apps anyway to cache. So the end result is that the OS is doing the exact opposite of what they intended it to do. They wanted it to cache apps to make it faster for the user to multitask. Yet the OS is picking the complete wrong apps to cache and kill, thus making it take LONGER to multitask.

    There has to be a way to tell the OS these are the apps I want to use and be cached, and these are the apps I DON'T care about. But just letting the OS arbitrarily pick these itself makes no sense whatsoever. And leads to a poorer user experience then if they just left it alone in the first place.
     
  25. bemymonkey

    bemymonkey Active Member

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    I'm having similar problems with Android 2.1 on my Milestone. The multitasking is completely screwed up, with even Android-native programs like the browser being killed/closed without saving the state if you minimize them for even just half a second (or, say, open the SMS you just received). There's nothing more annoying than opening 5 pages in new tabs, getting an IM and reading it, then switching back to the browser (either via a long press of the Home button or by launching it anew from the home screen) causes the browser to lose ALL the tabs that were open.

    How is it possible that ANYONE could think that this is actual multitasking?

    Hey, I can live with it, by using Android like I would an iPhone - but it pisses me off when I've had 5 articles in my RSS inbox in the past two days, which state that Android is better than iPhone OS because it has multitasking... BULL! Don't get me wrong, I love my Milestone and wouldn't touch an iPhone with a ten-foot-pole, but this sad implementation of switching apps and arbitrarily killing stuff in the background without any user confirmation when memory gets low does not deserve to be called multitasking.

    There isn't a third-party app that'll allow me to keep applications alive permanently, is there? The opposite of a task-killer, sort of...

    I've actually been looking for a place to rant about this - a place where actual Android developers might actually notice it. Any ideas? I'd feel sort of stupid (and pretty off-topic, I guess) posting this on the Android-Developers newsgroup...
     

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