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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StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

Personally, my ideal for multi-tasking on mobile devices (or any power/resource-constrained devices) would be a mix of the best ideas from Android, webOS, with a dash of BeOS/Haiku.

To give a practical example of the problems with the way existing mobile OSes handle multasking, the company I work for/run uses a web-based application called AjaxChat for basic group communication and so far, I haven't been able to use to with any "modern" mobile OS I've tried. Oh, I can login and send messages, etc - but as soon as I switch to another application, browser tab, or so much as turn off the screen, I'll timeout because the browser session/JS doesn't keep running in the background (even on webOS, sadly).

IMO, this seriously limits the usefulness of web-based applications on those platforms

I'd love to have a way to selectively set applications/instance of applications as either "active" or "managed". In active mode, the application stays running in the background no matter what, just as if it were running in the foreground. In managed mode, it would work like Android applications (closed when you switch to another app, but with the state saved/restored when you switch back). And ideally, some of that could be decided automatically/intelligently by programs based on context - E.g. start audio/video playback in a browser tab and switch to another tab/application, the OS should automatically make the original tab "active" (so playback doesn't just stop when you switch away).

And the BeOS/Haiku part? Require that every "app" be broken up into a client (the UI) and a server (that does the behind the scenes work). So the server daemon could run in the background, without having the GUI constantly loaded when it's not in the foreground. And I'd think that approach could be made even more efficient for mobile by not having the individual daemons running constantly, but able to register themselves with a central "director" daemon - which would periodically send "wake up & sync" commands to the individual daemons (as I understand it, some iOS and Android apps already work like that anyway).

To me that seems infinitely more sensible than the current approaches to multi-tasking on mobile devices, which essentially just throws the baby out with the bath water.

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