Android lag

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of buzz on the web around the Android lag issue: some Google engineer started the controversy with a post on Google+ and then other devs wrote their own opinion on that.

First of all, I believe that if this subject was discussed widely on the web, it probably means that the problem exists! I want to emphasize this because first I was led to believe by some online forums that it was an issue exclusive to the Galaxy S I had. Apparently this might affect the whole platform and, as a consequence, more or less, every single Android device.

Second, the conclusion I get from all the posts I’ve read is that Android, unlike iOS or Windows Phone, does a lot of different stuff all at the same time instead of focusing on the screen response to the user when the screen is touched. It seems pretty obvious to me that the screen responsiveness is a major thing on a touchscreen device user experience. Google apparently doesn’t share entirely this view with their competitors and believe that, at some point in the future, the hardware will be so powerful that this problem will sort itself out.

In the meantime, I felt curious about everything I’ve read and made a short video where I try to see what’s the approach Google and Apple took on this by playing some CSS animation on both OS stock browsers.

By the way, on a side note, after watching this video I noticed something I didn’t before: recording the video at the same time, on the same place, connected to the exact same wireless network, the iPhone 4S shows a much higher level of signal reception compared to a very poor signal showed by the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman.

Is the iPhone WiFi signal level too optimistic or is the Sony Ericsson antenna really bad?

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2 Responses to “Android lag”

  1. blog_hits++; Says:

    Interesting explanation. I happen to have a Honeycomb tablet, and I decided to try your experiment to see what happens.

    On Honeycomb, even if I scroll and pinch-zoom the page, the animation still runs(!). The AT-AT(?) animates smoothly, even if I scroll or pinch-zoom the page. The star background runs choppily whether I’m actively scrolling the page or not.
    Honeycomb stock browser is hardware accelerated. It’s pretty fast on most web pages, but struggles with complex ones such as Twitter and The Verge, in which ‘checkerboarding’ becomes apparent. The browser on Ice Cream Sandwich is supposed to be much improved, through.

    My Sony Ericsson phone has pretty low WiFi signal performance, compared to my tablet. I think it’s the antenna / radio’s problem.

    As always, nice post. Keep up the good work, happy 2012, etc.

    PS: Apparently Opera Mobile doesn’t support CSS3 Animations. 😦
    PPS: How’s the audio quality on the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman, compared to the Galaxy S? I’m curious whether the ‘Walkman’ tag has any meaning to Sony Ericsson’s line of Android phones.
    PPPS: Samsung changes their mind about porting ICS to the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab… twice. Link: (Triple facepalm, indeed.)

    • qrant Says:

      Unfortunately, I currently don’t have either an HoneyComb tablet or an Ice Cream Sandwich device, and that’s why I’ve used a Gingerbread phone.
      The fact that the behavior of the browser is different in your HoneyComb tablet makes me wonder if all the Gingerbread phones stop the animation or if it depends on the manufacturer’s customization of the stock web browser. Maybe a Gingerbread Samsung or HTC keeps running the animation while the Sony Ericsson doesn’t. It’s something I’ll look into when I have an opportunity. 🙂

      Although the signal of the Sony Ericsson phone is lower than other phones, I haven’t really felt this as a problem, since in most situations, even with a low signal level, it’s still perfectly possible to browse the web or download something without any noticeable speed decrease.

      The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman in my country comes with normal earphones while I’ve read that in some other countries comes with better quality in-ear headphones. The “Walkman” brand on the phone is, in my opinion, more about marketing than real quality, but the phone offers perfectly acceptable sound quality keeping in mind it’s sold for a really low-price. I believe the audio hardware of the Galaxy S is better than the Sony Ericsson though!

      Thanks for your feedback and Happy 2012! 🙂

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