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Android UI Lags Get An Explanation

Phandroid recently reported on the Google+ post by Andrew Munn who explains why, in his opinion, the Android UI is laggy and will remain so unless a complete overhaul takes place on the Android Framework parts responsible for hardware acceleration of UI.

Andrew Munn’s post was a response (if not a rebuttal, I’d say) to the points made by Google’s Dianne Hackborn’s recent post at her Google+ stream.

Both these posts containing quite opposite points in this argument are necessarily quite lengthy, so anyone who feels the need to compare arguments in their full texts is welcome to go to sources.

There’s also plenty of comments on each side of an argument.

My take on the argument, that in other forms and discussions actually lasts for more than a year already, is that Andrew Munn’s is mostly right about his assessment of the present state of Android UI acceleration and overall design faults of Android framework.

Sure, it took him leaving Google for the Windows Phone Development team to speak freely, while Dianne is supposed to fight tooth and nail for Google’s Android development standpoint.

This is a lost cause she’s fighting for: in general, Android after Gingerbread is the laggiest in its UI out of all mobile OSes out there: iOS, Windows Phone 7, QNX. Half-dead webOS and gone MeeGo can beat it into a pulp, even a much touted “hardware acceleration” of UI in Ice Cream Sandwich will be bitten: byte code implementation within a main thread loses to native code on dedicated thread of high priority, or real-time execution, literally in every task, any day.

Repairing the damage that occurred at the foundation of the whole Android project is a very demanding task, especially considering that not just the whole Android framework should be completely rewritten in a different ideology, but there’s also more faults in Dalvik VM’s garbage collection that need to be mended.

Andrew Munn hopes the hardware accelerated UI can be done in Android 5.0, be it Jelly Beans or whatever, if there is a desire. Dianne Hackborn believes the UI is accelerated already (if ever so slightly and in parts)  and just needs incremental improvements.

In my opinion, if Google decides to completely re-write its Android framework and Dalvik VM, the result might have no resemblance to the Green Dude at all. Then, there is that webOS thing that might be licensed for nothing, why not using it instead of being permanently tagged by Steve Jobs as a  “stolen product”.

Discussion continues, and we’ll see what it may boil up to.

About Alexander Udalov

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  • http://profiles.google.com/skewty Scott Palmer

    Nice post.  Thank you.