Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Apr 2013 21:06 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Oh multitasking. That staple of computing that got thrown out the window with many modern smartphones. We got some rudimentary thing in its place - but even as multitasking on phone and tablets improves, its user-visible side remains cumbersome. Windows 8 has a neat implementation, and now it's time Android follows in it footsteps.
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comment
by pandronic on Tue 30th Apr 2013 05:31 UTC
pandronic
Member since:
2006-05-18

I don't think the windows paradigm is suited for touch devices, I'd rather see a tiling UI for the tablets. Phones have screens too small for even that to work.

On the other hand, what is really needed is something we had in Windows 3.1 - applications that work in the background - no more resume crap, just start the app, let it do its thing, summon the launcher, open another app, do another thing and then go back to the first app to find your task finished. That is multitasking.

Reply Score: 3

RE: comment
by Morgan on Tue 30th Apr 2013 06:05 in reply to "comment"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

The problem with that is battery life. Windows 3.1 laptops didn't have to worry as much about battery life because half the weight of the 7 pound device was the battery. I know, because my first x86 computer was an i486 based laptop with WfW 3.11.

On a phone, the battery is almost always a single cell, and every process running on the device is another few minutes of life leaked away. Every Android phone I've owned has suffered severe battery life issues after it's been in use for a few weeks, to the point that it would last no more than four to six hours on a charge. Even with a reflash and only default apps installed, the time between charges would get steadily shorter every day.

In contrast, the iPhone 4S I'm using right now will sometimes last me two full days between charges. Having also had my wife's iPad in the house since we got married last month, I can only conclude that iOS's method of pausing most backgrounded apps is the reason. I say this because, if she is playing a game or using an app on her iPad that continues to run in the background (there are a few it seems), her battery life suffers similar to that of a typical Android tablet. Just browsing the web, or Pinterest, or Facebook barely touches the battery. On my iPhone, streaming audio over WiFi or playing certain games will have a bigger impact, but using more static apps and browsing the web just sips power marginally. On the Android (Samsung Nexus S with a new battery) I could take it off the charger, never take it out of my pocket, and four hours later I'm at 30% battery.

My usage patterns haven't changed; I use the same apps I used on my Android phone and I actually use this phone more than the other, possibly because I've discovered it will last much longer. Yet I get significantly better battery life.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: comment
by pandronic on Tue 30th Apr 2013 06:33 in reply to "RE: comment"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Well, I understand the battery issue as I've had an SGS for the past 2 years. It wasn't that bad as you described your experience - I usually got about 1-2 days of use out of my phone, but I was very careful about the way I used it (I always force closed apps and services I didn't use at the time + no data and GPS unless I really needed them). On the other hand on my new WP8 device I get about the same battery life with data and GPS always on, which is amazing. Still I can't shake the feeling that while the Android device was almost a real computer, WP8 and iOS devices are glorified feature phones.

I don't mind doing the battery management myself, always keeping track of my opened applications and closing them as needed. I also doubt that the average user would know or have the interest to do that, so I say - make true multitasking an advanced option for the power user.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: comment
by hollovoid on Tue 30th Apr 2013 10:42 in reply to "RE: comment"
hollovoid Member since:
2005-09-21

Not sure what phone you had but my droid X got a day easy, and my Razr Maxx HD has pushed 3. This is with a good amount of usage, on LTE, and no babysitting background tasks. But not all phones are created equal, I read reviews and study up on my potential purchases, to see if it is going to do what I want it to do. If it has horrible batt life, just dont buy it!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: comment
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 30th Apr 2013 20:34 in reply to "RE: comment"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I have the opposite experience. The 4s I have access to lasts barely 1 day. The SGS III lasts maybe a few hours more. I think it wildly varies on Android phones, because the hardware is so different. You'd need a device that was supported by both OS' in order to do a fair test. With out that, I'd guess the IOS method was better, but can't say that definitively.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: comment
by Luminair on Wed 1st May 2013 15:13 in reply to "RE: comment"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

have you seen how thin modern phones are? batteries can get bigger if necessary to support multitasking. not that I believe this is the case -- most of the battery is there for the screen...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: comment
by phoenix on Tue 30th Apr 2013 21:26 in reply to "comment"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Android already does that. Been doing that for over a year with Android 4.x. Did most of the following on Android 2.x as well, but it wasn't nearly as smooth as on 4.x (especially 4.2).

Start browser, start download, open mail, read mail, get notification download completed, open file browser, do stuff, go back to mail, read new mail, start podcast player, stream podcast, switch to game, keep listening to podcast, etc.

And it's pre-emptive multitasking at that, something Windows 3.1 never had. ;)

Edited 2013-04-30 21:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3