“What in the world did HTC do to Android ICS multitasking?” That was the opening question on an xda-developers thread from last week, which talked about what many users consider a serious software glitch on the One X, HTC’s current flagship device.
According to the thread’s OP, but also to a lot of other One X users, memory management on HTC’s new device is too aggressive, with background apps closing too fast. While great for freeing up memory, this behavior threatens to significantly cripple the user experience of multitasking on Android.
Most of us are used to open a bunch of apps on our Android devices and keep them open, even though we aren’t using them all at the same time, to be able to quickly access some of them later. The One X reportedly doesn’t allow this, closing pretty much any app in stand-by after a short while.
That wouldn’t be very serious if it only happened when memory started to run out, or if you got any sort of warning before an app was “killed”, would it? Well, unfortunately, there isn’t any kind of notification and apps are being shut down as soon as others are opened, making browsing, IM-ing, or listening to music on the One X a real hassle.
The shocker, however, comes straight from HTC. The company has publicly addressed the “issue” and… well, it doesn’t look at it as a problem, glitch, or bug. On the contrary, the company feels that “multitasking is operating normally according to our custom memory management specifications which balance core ICS features with a consistent HTC Sense experience.”
In other words, the swift closing of dormant apps is an HTC Sense feature, added to make the One X, as well as other phones featuring the new UI, last longer on a single battery charge. That may be a noble cause and everything, but what about us, the users that want an intuitive phone that allows us to do what we want, when we want it, and how we want it?
I mean, is autonomy so important that we can’t even leave a game on stand-by for a couple of minutes and pick things up from where we left them, without saving the session and re-opening the app? And when phones sign out of Google Talk seemingly randomly, is HTC somehow doing us a favor? These are just a couple of the questions that HTC will need to answer soon, before sales begin to suffer.
Do you guys agree with us, that multitasking as HTC sees it right now is against all we love at Android? Or is their approach a good solution to increase battery life?