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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 adycarter ( 261257 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (retracyda)> on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @11:06AM (#43281031)

    exactly what I was just about to say.

    The 16gb in your 16gb Nexus 4 is internal storage memory.

    It has 2gb of Ram

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @11:17AM (#43281159) Homepage Journal

    Also, my Nexus 7 certainly seems to download multiple files at once.

    This. Certain apps (like the play store) download one at a time because they are trying to be nice on your phone (since the time saved from multiple downloads is negligible anyway, unless you have a really good 4G signal). How much time do you spend waiting on play store app downloads anyway? The OS at large has no such restriction, you can download things from the play store while you are downloading things from a web page, or things from a Torrent, or whatever; it is all up to the app. I have run a Torrent client with 32 connections across 5 file downloads and Android had no problem with it (it did make video playback skip occasionally). I agree that phones are generally more powerful than the software expects at this point, but the way the question was worded, this is a problem looking for a solution.

    How about this: How can I get my phone/tablet to do compute work (folding @home, whatever) when it's plugged in and fully charged (like, most of the night)? These devices have multiple GB of ram, 2 to 4 CPU cores, and 4 to 8 GPU cores, why not put them to work if they are on-charger and full of juice (when the charger's role is done)?

  • cyanogenmod (Score:4, Interesting)

    by admdrew ( 782761 ) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @11:18AM (#43281175) Homepage

    I run Cyanogenmod [] on all of my Android devices (currently Galaxy Nexus for my main phone, Nexus 7 tablet, and an older HTC G2 phone for playing around with), and have never looked back.

    As others have mentioned here, though, sounds like you may not fully understand what's going on, since the Nexus 4 doesn't have 16GB of RAM, and we all seem to be able to do multiple downloads at once.

  • Re:On the other side (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @11:36AM (#43281397)

    Exactly. The problem with Android is that for every flagship nexus or SGS4 sold, dozens more crappy low end ones are sold.

    The free phones. The ones with crap screens, crap processors, and/or diddly squat for RAM (though for Android these days, that applies for anything smaller than 4.5" screen, annoyingly). After all, Google claims about 1.3M daily Android activations, while the most popular Android flagship phone, the SGS3, has sold around 40M units in all its various combinations. That's barely a month's worth of Android phone sales.

    And possibly, ancient OS versions (heads up - Gingerbread is no longer the majority! Though it is by far the largest slice). So you can have apps that use all the power of the device (I've seen special edition apps restricted to certain devices), but most devs don't have the resources to maintain and test two or three separate sets of code bases and/or assets. Especially as a lot of the exclusives are often comissioned by the manufacturer who just pays for the port and no maintenance.

    So devs have to keep in mind the vast majority of phones out there don't have 2GB, or even 1GB of RAM, and have 1GHz processors if they're lucky. And maybe 320x480 screens. Or 5" 480x800 screens.

    Yes, Android has basically wiped out featurephones (more profitable, and carriers get to sell a very profitable data plan to someone who probably will be lucky to use 1MB out of their 100MB). (And stats show this - despite Android outselling iOS 3+:1, iOS data usage still beats Android 2+:1).

    It's like PCs these days - you can get a top notch PC with the latest graphics, but end up finding most PC games assume an Intel graphics accellerator or are ported from consoles. It just isn't that big a market.

    Then again, there's something to be said that the people who buy the flagship phones tend to be the heavier users, so ignoring the low end isn't that bad a strategy either. Why go for the 80% market when fewer than 10% of those probably would even see your app, but go after the 20% when 50% or more will probably buy it? (Generally speaking, it's the reasoning behind developing for iOS first).

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