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

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 bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @11:06AM (#43281027)

    Just a note for future articles:

    I have a 16 GB Nexus 4. I rarely manage to push the RAM usage above 1 GB

    There is no need to include "16 GB". Both devices have 2 GB of RAM. To someone who doesn't know this, the summary might imply that they have some awesome 16 GB RAM model.

  • Read up on ARM (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @11:07AM (#43281045)

    This is a platform that was not designed to have a scheduler carving up resources. If you want a mobile device that makes good use of the available resources (and somehow manages to try to conserve power while doing it) ARM isin't where you're looking. (ARM in clusters: awesome idea. great power efficiency at performing simple SINGLE tasks while other units perform simultaneous threads.)

    And re, cell network: There's physical problems with trying to maintain high data rate, low latency, long range connections (especially at low power) It's a miracle it works at all in most cases. :P

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @11:09AM (#43281077)

    The problem with ram is that you can't do that. Unfortunately traditional apps live in a world where memory can't be "taken back". By taken back I mean that precisely as you request, an app could have a minimum requirement of 10MB, but maybe it could cache stuff for 1GB. However, there is no easy way to the OS to tell the app politely "hey, may you please give back as much memory as you can because something else needs it?". The problem is two fold for mobile apps: they may be "thawed", so they are not really executing to save CPU, so they can only be asked if they are currently running. And second, the memory another app is asking, is it because it requires that memory to work, or it also wants to create a big cache of discardable stuff? You see, malloc et all don't have an option to say "I want this much memory but I don't really need it, so don't purge other processes form memory if there is none available".

    The end result is OSes have to deal with killing apps to free memory because they end up over allocating memory. And especially if you consider all of the above to be for well behaved apps, you can surely understand apps could DOS your OS if they could get away with hogging available memory for themselves...

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @01:22PM (#43282713) Homepage Journal

    most people don't have anywhere near [50 megabit per second wired service] for their home/office, but can get it through 4G.

    A 50 Mbps downstream is fine for the first 800 seconds, after which it drops to 0 Mbps for the rest of the month because the customer has hit the 5 GB/mo cap. The advantage of wired is that the cap is 50 times as high: 250 GB/mo, not 5 GB/mo.

    you basically need to saturate the google server sending you the app

    It's not just Google Play Store. If I'm downloading a bunch of files through Chrome, I want to saturate multiple servers, most of which are not operated by Google.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!