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Location settings and applications

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by lgmayka, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. lgmayka

    lgmayka Active Member
    Thread Starter

    Nov 27, 2009
    Although I don't have an Android phone myself (I have a Touch Pro 2 instead), I am the technical expert in my extended family and therefore am expected to help them with their new Android phones. :(

    Family members have complained, and an Internet search confirms, that a major problem with Android is its tendency to fool the user into leaving a GPS-using program running in the background, running down the battery. Various articles tout all sorts of crazy schemes to work around the problem--everything from (a) flipping GPS capability on and off, to (b) flipping between plain GPS and A-GPS, to (c) flipping WiFi on and off in coordination with GPS. I can't believe that Google made this simple, well-understood capability such a gotcha, especially since it is no problem at all on Windows Mobile 6.5.

    So please help me to come up with a reasonable, coherent recommendation for my family members. This is what the result should look like (again, judging from WM6.5):

    1) Both A-GPS and plain GPS should simply be there whenever the user needs them. Since they do nothing except when an application actually uses them, they should draw essentially no battery otherwise.

    2) Since WiFi is an always-broadcasting capability, it constantly draws battery. Hence, it is reasonable to tell the user to turn it off when he doesn't need it. (Indeed, on a full-3G phone, WiFi is almost redundant except when deliberately creating a WiFi hotspot. Sprint discourages WiFi anyway by preventing the use of its Sprint TV over WiFi.)

    3) The user should be able to use Google Maps and Sprint Navigation freely and interchangeably. Once told that these navigation programs constantly download maps etc. in the background, the user will understand that he must exit out of such programs when done--but he must have a simple way of performing that exit, and a simple way of seeing that he forgot (and that the program is running in the background).

    So given these requirements, I'm guessing that:

    1) The user should enable location, "use wireless networks," and "use satellites."

    2) The user should always exit Google Maps or Sprint Navigation when done. I presume that each of these programs has a simple way to exit, even on Android!

    3) If the user forgets, how can he be made aware that a mapping program is running in the background? And how does he kill it? Should I recommend a task killer app to all my family members?


  2. Szadzik

    Szadzik Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2010
    FAS Admin
    I think you are taking it all a bit too WinMo way.

    1. GPS can be left on and unless there is an app running in the foreground using it, it will not be used and will not draw power. Whether it is being used or not an indicator will be shown on the notification bar at the top. I have it on all the time and unless I open Google Maps/ Navigon etc., it does not show up as being used.

    2. When you say the user should exit out of application you are right. This however is different from how WinMo works. Android applications mostly do not have an exit button, and when they are closed by the user by pressing the home key they go to the background. If you exit out of Google Maps this way it will stop transmitting data and using GPS. It will thus, stop using battery.

    3. Another aspect is, that when you place Google Maps in the background, it will be killed by the system, because it is a resource-hungry application and the system will see it as taking too much of RAM and CPU and will kill it right-away. The same mwith navigation apps, they are real memory hogs and thus when exited, will be killed by the system.

    4. As for you last question - if a mapping program is running in the background it will show the GPS (dish) icon next to the battery meter icon at the top of the screen.

    5. No need to worry about these things, Android manages memory on its own in order to keep running smoothly.

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