I’ve been watching the memory on the phone the last few weeks, mainly since 2.3.3 was implemented and since a colleague in Test Lab commented on excessive memory bleed. Today my phone had been up for 40 hours and it was slllllllllooooowwwww. Accessing Auto Memory Manager showed I had around 92MB left in the memory. Killing a couple background apps freed up a little more.
Before I continue with the results of my experiment I’d like to note (and I’m sure many of you have noticed something similar) there are certain apps on the phone which can’t be killed by conventional methods or otherwise. If anyone at Sony Ericsson could explain to me why my phone apparently needs to run THREE widgets for the clock I’d be grateful:
- The blue digital clock widget – which I use on my homescreen
- The black digital clock widget – which I don’t use
- The analogue clock widget.
Furthermore I’d be thrilled to know why the following services need to be running on my handset? The Sony Ericsson Facebook service which, despite being killed in sync etc (as I hate Facebook Inside Xperia), still manages to run in the background, along with
- the stock Music app,
- HDMI control,
- BBC iPlayer,
- BBC News and
Quite why Skype runs in the background when it’s not even logged in is bewildering. Why the HDMI controller is running, perpetually poised to spring to life, despite the absence of an HDMI lead, is equally perplexing, bordering on plain stupid.
Anyway, back to the memory issue. There’s definitely a problem somewhere as I did a quick reboot and the phone was back up to 169MB. However within 5 minutes of this power up, 5 MB has mysteriously disappeared into the ether. 10 minutes after this point the phone has dropped below 140MB and sure enough, Skype is lurking in the background, along with Maps and HDMI control. I’m sure by the time I check the phone at bedtime despite clearing caches and killing unused apps it will have bled out a few more MB.
One of the many joys of Symbian was the ability to leave the phone on for DAYS and it still run at the same speed. My k800i, switched off but used as an alarm, lasted a MONTH before the alarm failed to activate. The big problem with smartphones is no-one’s looking past the end of the working day.
Most manufacturers aren’t interested in TWO working days use from the phone. The assumption is users will rag their phone until the battery is exhausted, usually in one day, and the handset will power down. The subsequent overnight recharge rejuvenates the phone and you carry on as normal. This is generally where Mugen Power et al pick up the slack.
What happens though, when you don’t turn the phone off? I use my phone as my alarm clock, and one of the limitations of the Android system is the phone MUST be on for the alarm to work – it doesn’t have the internal counter like Symbian handsets have. So if your phone never goes off, it never gets the chance to rest, regroup and press on again. In short, it chokes on it’s own crap.
Now there are apps on the market like the aforementioned AutoMemoryManager, that help Android manage it’s memory but I feel this is something Android should be able to do itself. Cleaning the app cache can sometimes free up 10-20% of the available memory, but why is it left to be done manually? The OS should be smart enough to keep itself ticking over efficiently (or more efficiently than it currently is), rather than getting bogged down under the weight of self-generated crap.