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Android Cellphones Handhelds

Ask Slashdot: Getting Apps To Use Phones' Full Power? 184

Posted by timothy
from the never-satisfied dept.
First time accepted submitter MurukeshM writes "I have a 16 GB Nexus 4. I rarely manage to push the RAM usage above 1 GB (not counting cached processes). Yet I find it increasingly annoying when apps do stuff to save on RAM usage, such as having a browser reload a tab if I havent used it for a long time, instead of keeping it in memory or have an ebook reader load from storage instead of keeping the entire eBook in RAM. I know there are plenty of phones with far less memory, but when most of the RAM is unutilized, with more and more phones and tablets having 1GB+ RAM, isn't it time that apps check on available RAM and use optimizations accordingly? And it isn't only about RAM. Android by default only downloads one thing at a time, whether it be an app from Play Store or a file from a site. When connected to WiFi or 3G/LTE, there's no reason why multiple simultaneous downloads shouldn't be used. How do Slashdot readers with high-end phones get the most out of their device? Are there custom ROMs which act more sensibly?"
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Ask Slashdot: Getting Apps To Use Phones' Full Power?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @10:05AM (#43281015)

    The 16GB Nexus 4 doesn't have 16GB of RAM. It has 2GB. Your post reads like you think it has 16GB of RAM.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @10:30AM (#43281285)
    A little OffTopic about Android's 'switch apps' feature (on ICS and higher) from a recent Slashdot discussion.

    I've learned that swiping the app offscreen to the left doesn't 'force stop' it, it just removes the icon from the 'running apps' list.

    Doing a 'long press' on the apps icon brings up a sub-menu of 2 options, "remove from list" and "app info". Tapping on the 'app info' shortcut brings you to the 'app info screen', from there the app can be 'force stopped'.

    I'm posting this here in the hopes that it'll clear up any confusion caused by that previous discussion. :-)

  • Re:Read up on ARM (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @10:56AM (#43281653) Journal

    This is a platform that was not designed to have a scheduler carving up resources

    Uh, what? The ARM architecture was designed for Acorn's line of 32-bit desktop computers, which shipped with a multitasking OS from the start. Now, it wasn't preemptively multitasking, but the only difference between cooperative multitasking and preemptive from a hardware perspective is that you need (relatively) cheap timer interrupts to enable preemptive multitasking, and ARM has always had this.

    The cost of context switching boils down to a small number of things:

    • The cost of delivering the timer interrupt (interrupts on ARM are cheap and have a small number of aliased registers to play with so the code in the interrupt handler can be simple)
    • The size of the register set that needs to be saved (ARM is 15 32-bit GPRs, which can be saved and loaded in a single multi-cycle instruction, only x86 has a smaller register set)
    • The cost of TLB flushes and refills required during the switch (ARM has a tagged TLB, so you only need to invalidate any TLB entries when you recycle an ASID)

    In summary, the orifice that you are talking out of is not your mouth.

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