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    Default Android 2.1 not true multitasking?

    it almost feels like the Android OS doesn't offer TRUE multi-tasking. I don't know if it's something I'm doing wrong, or if it just doesn't exist!

    Scenario 1:
    Many times, I'll try to create a contact with multiple numbers. So I'll start the contact, and then I'll switch to my phone log. Then I'll go back to my contact, and BOOM! the contact info I just entered is gone!

    Scenario 2:
    Entering addresses sometimes doesn't work either! I'll try to switch between apps so I can copy info, and it doesn't work!

    I'll say the ONLY system that let's me do that (besides Windows and OSx computers) is the Palm Pre. Am I doing something wrong here?
  2. #2  
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    NOBODY has true multitasking like WebOS ... With Android you may be able to leave some apps open like games so you can go back to them but when you leave they either auto save or completely starts you over in the process ... WebOS has it covered ... Android fails when it comes to TRUE Multi tasking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo1 View Post
    NOBODY has true multitasking like WebOS ... With Android you may be able to leave some apps open like games so you can go back to them but when you leave they either auto save or completely starts you over in the process ... WebOS has it covered ... Android fails when it comes to TRUE Multi tasking.
    Android can handle multitasking just fine IF the developer of the app codes the appropriate components to make the app save it's current state correctly.

    You will find most of the best multitasking examples in games, which can be paused before moving to another app and resume exactly where you left off when you return - this was coded to be like that.

    With most basic apps, unless the developer believes there's a reason why the user would switch back and forth, they just don't code in the proper "save states".

    In the OP example of entering phone numbers, I too have experienced the same problem, but I don't blame android's lack of multifunction ability, but the developer (in the case of stock apps, that would be google) for not creating their app to be a multitask compatible.
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    I think Android would benefit from some level of app quality assurance. I'm not talking about taking it to Apple's level, just making sure that things like proper suspend states and exiting works. I'm also getting rather tired of all the crap apps that are floating around Market for no purpose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo1 View Post
    NOBODY has true multitasking like WebOS ...
    Except you know, RIM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlitchZero View Post
    Except you know, RIM.
    Don't forget Windows Mobile!
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    Building on what WMtoAndroid said, Google/Android also encourages developers to assume that if a program is paused, that it will never come back and be destroyed by the OS.

    For instance, in many of their database-related tutorials (like the notepad), they actually commit the entered data when the thread is suspended. This is fine for an editable and non-vital thing like a note, but for contact info you probably dont want an autosave of incomplete info, especially if it is half a phone number or something.

    Not saying its a good implementation, just giving some background of how/why it might be happening.

    Also, Android can run background processes, but it is always encouraged to pause when possible and await destruction to avoid memory leaks and other results of bad coding, something RIM had some trouble with (at least when i had my storm).
  8. #8  

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo1 View Post
    NOBODY has true multitasking like WebOS ... With Android you may be able to leave some apps open like games so you can go back to them but when you leave they either auto save or completely starts you over in the process ... WebOS has it covered ... Android fails when it comes to TRUE Multi tasking.

    As far as I understand how the OS's work this is not true. I am sure people a lot more knowledgeable than I will chime in.
    As much as I understand it WebOS does not multitask better than Android from a technical point of view! I will be corrected if I am wrong and this is a good thing! ii

    WebOS works really well, and I personally love WebOS, but IMHO Android actually runs a lot of processes in the background more efficiently and multitasks better, or different, than WebOS overall. If the application does not auto save its state and you exit it, that is not the OS's fault your data was not saved. This is up to the developer of the application if it saves on exit, saves its current state or remains running when the program is pushed in the background. WebOS programs seems to do this a lot more as the developers usually adhere to certain standards. Android developers can also do this but some do not. They can tell Android OS how to handle the priority of their application etc...

    If you do not close the application and simply switch to another then your application will remain open and available to copy data back and forth. This is up to the developer and up to you how you work with it. Do not close the current application, press and hold your home key next time and switch to the other app! Try it that way instead of exiting. You can easily switch between apps this way.

    I think WebOS seems better at multitasking because visually, to the user, you see the process more in your face. It does this by keeping the apps running, shrinking the app that is running into a thumbnail view, and allowing you to see them running side by side in the card view. That is very cool and I wish Android would adopt something like that but that does not mean Android is not multitasking, you just don't notice it as easily. WebOS is also better at cut/paste than Android is. I find C/P frustrating on Android so far.

    However with that said one thing that used to really bother me on my Pre was some programs had to stay open and running to work. Some even put an icon in the notification area which shrank the screen down. I HATED seeing those there taking up space. I also hated having a lot of cards open to make it do things that I don't want to see.

    Android works 100% better in just running applications in the background without being annoying or noticeable. Android handles processes much better than WebOS keeping more in memory at a time wither they are being used or not. This also allows faster loading or switching. I have several apps that tracks or do various things that just run and they do not bother me at all, they just run.

    One example on my Pre was a program that used the GPS to know where you were and would pop up a note when you got close. So if I went to the store it would pop up an alert that I needed to buy milk! That was cool but always had to be running in the foreground. I had to run it and keep it that way to use it, it added an icon to the notification area and kept my screen smaller in doing so. I could not just leave the Pre in that state, it just bothered the heck out of me. So I just did not use the app! I could not use any app that worked liked that. It just got in my way. I have Android apps now that can alert me etc.. and they just work. Simple and efficiently in the background.

    Android keeps a lot of programs in various states of use and can run programs in the background and you don't even remember you ran them. It is much more efficient!

    Check this article out that explains Androids multitasking better than I ever could:
    Last edited by Paladin; 07-30-2010 at 11:08 AM. Reason: Typos, additions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin View Post
    That is simply untrue! Lets get this straight; WebOS does not multitask better than Android from a technical point of view!
    Erm, I don't like webOS but come on; it keeps all applications open until you close them. That's multitasking. Android suspends and saves states which is also multitasking but it seems rather silly to say one performs better than the other when webOS keeps everything open and Android does not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin View Post
    Android actually runs a lot of processes in the background more efficiently and multitasks better than WebOS overall
    Please quantify this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin View Post
    It does this by keeping the apps running, shrinking the app that is running into a thumbnail view.
    I've done webOS development and that's not true. There is no "shrinking" to the notifications. Notifications are a special application built into your normal webOS application that can run with or without the normal application running. Their function is to provide a notification to the user and that's it. Pandora leaves theirs open so you can switch music while you're on a different card but it doesn't have to work that way and, in fact, almost every webOS application does NOT work in this way.

    Typically the application stays in the background and provides no notification. It would be silly and incorrect to have a notification constantly displaying only because your application is in the background.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin View Post
    However with that said one thing that used to really bother me on my Pre was some programs had to stay open and running to work. So they put an icon in the notification area which shrank the screen down.
    Again, this is not true. Those notifications run separate from the application but are not required to always display. You can create dashboard applications combined with your regular application which allows it to run in the background and control when or if a banner notification should be displayed.

    I'd suggest looking into webOS before making such incorrect statements. I mean, just looking at the API will show you how these things work.
  10. #10  

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    To much to quote it all ii
    First I re-wrote what I said above before you responded to clarify it so please reread it.

    Sorry I am at work and don't have time to do a proper response (I will edit later) but I will say the notification system is great on WebOS but it does shrink the screen which is what I meant. When you get a notification it puts an icon at the bottom, the screen shrinks up one row. It does.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kris View Post
    Again, this is not true. Those notifications run separate from the application but are not required to always display. You can create dashboard applications combined with your regular application which allows it to run in the background and control when or if a banner notification should be displayed.
    I am not a developer and am in no way saying I know more than you do on WebOS but there were several apps that required a notification to remain open so the programs could run. I am not wrong with that as I used them ii
    If this has changed since June 4th when I got my Evo then I stand corrected. ii

    Quote Originally Posted by Kris View Post
    Erm, I don't like webOS but come on; it keeps all applications open until you close them. That's multitasking. Android suspends and saves states which is also multitasking but it seems rather silly to say one performs better than the other when webOS keeps everything open and Android does not..
    I think you are thinking of the way the iPhone's iOS 4 Multitasks as opposed to Android. Android does not have to suspend a state. I think you are confusing running programs on Android as opposed to closed ones that it keeps in memory. It does suspend applications that are not running or otherwise needed but that is mainly for faster loading if they are needed again.

    If a program is to remain active Android does not (have to) suspend its state when switching to another application.
    It is the difference between the process and the application running.

    Multiple applications can run simultaneously with no problem, just like WebOS.

    "A key to how Android handles applications in this way is that processes don't shut down cleanly. When the user leaves an application, its process is kept around in the background, allowing it to continue working (for example downloading web pages) if needed, and come immediately to the foreground if the user returns to it. If a device never runs out of memory, then Android will keep all of these processes around, truly leaving all applications "running" all of the time."

    I mentioned this above but that quote is from:
    Last edited by Paladin; 07-30-2010 at 01:25 PM.
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  11. #11  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin View Post
    I will say the notification system is great on WebOS but it does shrink the screen which is what I meant. When you get a notification it puts an icon at the bottom, the screen shrinks up one row. It does.
    Yeah I know and I agree. The notifications were nice but I couldn't stand the shrinking. All it took was a couple of emails, text messages and a phone call and you had to dismiss them otherwise it was unusable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin View Post
    I am not a developer and am in no way saying I know more than you do on WebOS but there were several apps that required a notification to remain open so the programs could run. I am not wrong with that as I used them ii
    If this has changed since June 4th when I got my Evo then I stand corrected. ii
    The dashboard applications have always worked the same way. There have been bugs but they've always allowed headless applications.

    I didn't use any applications like that and it seems like a very odd. Basically you create two applications as one application. One is the regular application and the other is a dashboard. The dashboard allows for banners to be displayed but, overall, it runs in a headless mode and allows you to run things in the background (like syncing). I believe there are some functions, like multimedia items, that might require a UI component to be visible (such as a banner or application) but you'd probably want to keep the regular application on and in the background in that case.

    If all it was doing was syncing or looking stuff up online or anything internal then it was unnecessary.

    Regardless, I like the way Android does it better; I just wish there was a card-way of looking at open applications. I wasn't trying to argue, I just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page.
  12. #12  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris View Post
    Erm, I don't like webOS but come on; it keeps all applications open until you close them. That's multitasking. Android suspends and saves states which is also multitasking but it seems rather silly to say one performs better than the other when webOS keeps everything open and Android does not.
    Android does not close apps and save state. Apps have control over what happens when you exit them or switch another app to the foreground. Too many app developers take the lazy way out, but that's not Android's problem.

    Android is perfectly capable of having apps fully running in the background with no user display. Google maps / navigation does it, Pandora does it. Several different browsers do it. System Panel runs in the background if you turn the monitoring function on. Setting Profiles run continuously in the background. So do a bunch of other apps I have on my phone.

    Your assertion that Android simply does task switching in incorrect.
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    Android is Linux based, so it DOES have true multitasking vs. the task-switching that iOS had before iOS4.

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    Please people, the only OS without multitasking was iOS. iOS 4 brings it, but limits the number of programs that can run. WinPhone7 beta versions did not have it, but those are BETA. So you CANNOT count it.
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    my daughter just got a Pixi WebOs this weekend. Talk about a great operating system. I love it. Why isn't WebOs more popular? PALM (how HP) has done a great job. It is fast, no lag, updates easy. Great overall experience. Combines calendars, exchange out of the box that works well, syncs with google - easy setup. And it MultiTasks GREAT!
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPlot View Post
    Please people, the only OS without multitasking was iOS. iOS 4 brings it, but limits the number of programs that can run. WinPhone7 beta versions did not have it, but those are BETA. So you CANNOT count it.
    iOS was a multi-tasking OS too, but the multi-tasking was locked down by Apple to a few of their own apps. Jailbreaking breaks the lock down and allows multi-tasking. Jailbreaking also opens up iOS4 to all apps as well.
  17. #17  

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    Quote Originally Posted by itchn2go View Post
    my daughter just got a Pixi WebOs this weekend. Talk about a great operating system. I love it. Why isn't WebOs more popular? PALM (how HP) has done a great job. It is fast, no lag, updates easy. Great overall experience. Combines calendars, exchange out of the box that works well, syncs with google - easy setup. And it MultiTasks GREAT!
    Why? Limited flexibility, customization and capability in the OS. Limited (very limited) application support. Only 2 phones (Pre and Pixi) that offer it, and the Pre is a year old, which in phone terms is an eternity. Initial quality problems with the Pre hardware turned a lot of people off. Tiny screens. And that speedy performance actually goes south pretty fast when you add some apps and really try to take advantage of its multi-tasking. Search the phrase "too many cards" for more info on that.

    And Palm ignored it's heritage. They had a built in market of hundreds of thousands who were sold on the classic PIM apps from PalmOS, but the Pre was introduced with some of the weakest PIM apps on any smartphone, which drove away many of the faithful. The lack of a built-in method to run legacy Palm apps, combined with no initial support from 3rd party developers turned a lot of us off, too.

    Combine those limitations with possibly the worst ad campaign in the history of the mobile industry, and you get where you are today.

    It was too little, too late, for Palm. iOS owns the trendy, entertainment space, which is what Palm targeted. It doesn't have the apps to really support the business space (or the entertainment space, for that matter), and taking on BB, with historical support from business and lots of devices on multiple carriers, and Android, with many more devices on multiple carriers, and many more apps to boot, is a tough nut to crack.

    Palm owned the smartphone space about 6 years ago, with only the staid, no touch-screen BB to compete with. Instead of using the revenue from the old Palm OS PIMs and the Treo line to start building something like WebOS then, they squandered it on wasted efforts and false starts. In the meantime, Apple revolutionized the market with a device that really wasn't all the special, but looked cool, had a great touch screen, and a great ad campaign. Microsoft spent millions to buy market share, and then squander it, and Google bought Android and spent millions to buy market share.

    WebOS will be a historical footnote. HP doesn't seem interested in phones, so I suspect WebOS will become a tablet OS. It will probably be a very good tablet OS, but I think it will once again be too little, too late. In spite of Apple's success, consumers tend to be suspicious of platforms that don't get lots of support from multiple vendors, and developers tend not to write apps for platforms that don't get lots of support. Without app support, who's going to buy a WebOS tablet instead of a Windows tablet or iOS tablet?

    Yes, I'm one of those bitter ex-PalmOS owners. There's still nothing else on the market that handles calendar and tasks better than PalmOS. I waited for more than a year for Palm to turn WebOS into something I could use, but finally gave up and switched to Android.
    Last edited by meyerweb; 08-02-2010 at 04:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by meyerweb View Post
    Why? Limited flexibility, customization and capability in the OS. Limited (very limited) application support. Only 2 phones (Pre and Pixi) that offer it, and the Pre is a year old, which in phone terms is an eternity. Initial quality problems with the Pre hardware turned a lot of people off. Tiny screens. And that speedy performance actually goes south pretty fast when you add some apps and really try to take advantage of its multi-tasking. Search the phrase "too many cards" for more info on that.

    And Palm ignored it's heritage. They had a built in market of hundreds of thousands who were sold on the classic PIM apps from PalmOS, but the Pre was introduced with some of the weakest PIM apps on any smartphone, which drove away many of the faithful. The lack of a built-in method to run legacy Palm apps, combined with no initial support from 3rd party developers turned a lot of us off, too.

    Combine those limitations with possibly the worst ad campaign in the history of the mobile industry, and you get where you are today.

    It was too little, too late, for Palm. iOS owns the trendy, entertainment space, which is what Palm targeted. It doesn't have the apps to really support the business space (or the entertainment space, for that matter), and taking on BB, with historical support from business and lots of devices on multiple carriers, and Android, with many more devices on multiple carriers, and many more apps to boot, is a tough nut to crack.

    Palm owned the smartphone space about 6 years ago, with only the staid, no touch-screen BB to compete with. Instead of using the revenue from the old Palm OS PIMs and the Treo line to start building something like WebOS then, they squandered it on wasted efforts and false starts. In the meantime, Apple revolutionized the market with a device that really wasn't all the special, but looked cool, had a great touch screen, and a great ad campaign. Microsoft spent millions to buy market share, and then squander it, and Google bought Android and spent millions to buy market share.

    WebOS will be a historical footnote. HP doesn't seem interested in phones, so I suspect WebOS will become a tablet OS. It will probably be a very good tablet OS, but I think it will once again be too little, too late. In spite of Apple's success, consumers tend to be suspicious of platforms that don't get lots of support from multiple vendors, and developers tend not to write apps for platforms that don't get lots of support. Without app support, who's going to buy a WebOS tablet instead of a Windows tablet or iOS tablet?

    Yes, I'm one of those bitter ex-PalmOS owners. There's still nothing else on the market that handles calendar and tasks better than PalmOS. I waited for more than a year for Palm to turn WebOS into something I could use, but finally gave up and switched to Android.
    +1. Great summary.
  19. Thread Author  Thread Author    #19  

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    Fwiw, WebOS is slow, but the ease of use of it was (in my personal opinion) phenomenal to use. Sure, we don't have the customizations of android, but I didn't care too much about customizing the phone. In fact, I just wanted a clean stock look, because with too much customizations, comes a lot of consequences. For instance, you phone breaks. Now you have to start over, unless there's a "backup" for android that will move your customizations to another device easily.

    I'm not mocking android at all, as I'm on the EVO 4G phone. Sure, I know it's still not the fastest thing out there (Even with Froyo) but it gets the job done. I just wish it had a better multi-tasking feature set that allowed me to scroll between EVERY app available! The Palm Pre, I did this with ease.... creating new contacts, and maintaining EVERY window open so I can copy the phone numbers, verify it's the right contact, and write it in!

    On that note, HTC really needs to uncap the 30FPS! This will RUN SO MUCH better without the cap! I don't even play games, but I just want the smooth responsiveness of 60 fps!
  20. #20  

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    ^^^
    Again, not being able to swap between open apps that maintain their state has nothing to do with Android, or with it's ability to multi-task. It's all about the app(s).

    There are apps available that let you switch between all the open apps, or a number of your choosing. Not as slick as cards, but better than the 6 2.1 allows, or the 8 allowed by 2.2. I use Power Strip, but there are others.

    As for customizing, I'd rather have to rebuild my customizations in the unlikely even my phone breaks than be unable to configure things to suit my needs and wants.
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