Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Jan 2013 23:06 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless And so, today, RIM announced its Hail Mary - a brand new mobile operating system (well, sort-of new), as well as two new devices. In addition, the Canadian company also officially changed its name from Research In Motion to Blackberry. The first few reviews of Blackberry 10 are already out, and it's not bad. The problem, however, is that in the case of Blackberry, 'not bad' could easily mean 'not good enough'.
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RE[3]: Wishy Washy What?
by Neolander on Fri 1st Feb 2013 07:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wishy Washy What?"
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I sure hope they do.

Windows 8 handles this by putting apps into a suspended state and expecting state saving to go on during that transition.

From there apps are either returned to "Running" state at some point in the future, or killed.

If your app was killed when it next resumes, you load state, if your app was suspended, then there's no need to reload state as it is still resident in memory.

I hope BB does something similar.

That's the idea indeed, though from what I've heard Windows 8 is falling in the iOS trap of stating that "apps can do nothing in the background, save for arbitrary tasks X, Y and Z which we have received hundreds of support requests about". This, in turn, leads to significant UX problems as soon as a user does something unusual, such as VPN services periodically disconnecting themselves unless managed by OS services that are not subjected to arbitrary restrictions. Can you confirm or infirm this?

In place of such draconian restrictions, I would prefer mobile OSs to use better task prioritization and power management algorithms, so that tasks can be left running in the background as long as possible without significant sluggishness and power draw occurring. Technologies such as soft real-time scheduling have been invented for a reason, after all...

Another potential issue which I see in your post is that apps apparently must explicitly implement state saving (as also done on iOS and Android), rather than having it done automatically by the OS (as done when simply committing the RAM of unused processes and libraries to some form of swapfile). From experience, such mechanisms also lead to UX problems in practice : apps do not display the same part of their UI as when they were left, only part of the state is saved, some apps cache all expensive IO data and resume quickly while others take a lot of time to restart after being killed... To sum it up, user-space developers should never be trusted to perform the job of an OS properly, but OSs which ask them to save their state themselves are doing just that.

TL;DR : Unless I'm misunderstood about the way Windows 8 does things, mobile multitasking still needs more work.

Edited 2013-02-01 07:24 UTC

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