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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Get Rid of the Task Killer

This is a follow up from my last blog posting. It turned out that the HK Video Note 3 phone had a bad motherboard which had to be replaced.

As for the 9.9 inch tablet, it recently became corrupted and would not start. After the HK Video screen, it just stayed on the screen with the word Android on it. That was recovered by the person at the store by pressing on the power and the - volume button to restore the OS on the tablet.

After recovering the tablet, I decided to take a closer look at the default configuration of the tablet and found that it comes with a task killer installed and is rooted. I suspect that most of the issues I encountered is the result of the task killer killing critical processes in the background. As mentioned, I encountered issues where core applications failed and could only be recovered by resetting the tablet to factory mode. I am not sure if effect of the task killer is due to the fact that the table is rooted or because of the OS version. I did not see such dramatic effect on my phone running on Android 2.3.5.

I noticed that applications continue to run in the background and the quickest way to terminate them is to select the multitask button and sliding them out. This will free up memory and cpu usage by these applications. This is probably the safest way to terminate applications in Android without killing critical background processes. The one click button provided on the Asus Fonpad only works some of the times, sliding the applications from the multitask button is more reliable. This button was introduced in Android 4.0. I used to terminate the background processes when I used Windows Mobile 6.1 and found that I helped make my phone more stable, so for now I shall practice this.

There are times you encounter pop-up telling you that some google processes has stopped running and prompts you terminate them. A quick way to fix this is to use the application setting and click clear data and allow Google to repopulate the information. These applications are listed under All category. The ones I cleared in the past are:

  • Calendar Storage
  • Contacts Storage
  • Gmail

As for Google+, you can just uninstall and then reinstall the app from Google Play.

The last item I have not verified is whether using apps2rom and apps2sd will affect the stability of the tablet. Apps2Rom only works with rooted devices and allows you to move core application (such as Gmail) updates back to the rom

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why Pay Premium for Android Devices

Image courtesy of  phanlop88
/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I recently decided that Android operating system is now mature enough for me to get a cheap alternative for tablets and phones. Ten inch tablets are all more than RM 1000/-. The exchange rate is US$1 = RM 3.25.


In order to test my theory, I bought three devices. They are:


  • 9.9 inch tablet from HK Video (‎AM10D1B‎) (RM 699).
  • 5.5 inch phone from HK Video - also known as Note 3 (RM 599)
  • 7 inch phone pad from Asus (RM 699)


UI

All three devices came with Android 4.1.x installed. Quite often those using HTC phones and other branded Android phones and devices complain about how the HTC Sense or third party UI weights down on the devices. However, when I started using the above devices, that was the first thing I missed. I preferred the keyboard that came with HTC Sense UI instead of the keyboard in HK Video.


Android 4.1 had a lot of added features compared to the Android 2.3 on HTC Desire HD.


Battery Life

Battery life on all three devices were better compared to what I was getting on Desire HD. Asus provided the best battery life with about six hours of gaming and browsing, followed by the 6 inch tablet and the 5.5 inch phone.


Memory

The main reason why the HK Video devices cost so much less is due to the amount of RAM provided. The 9.9 inch tablet came with 1 Gbyte RAM, the 5.5 inch phone came with 512 Gbyte RAM and the Asus came with 1 Gbyte RAM.


Moving the applications from the main memory (RAM) to the other built in memory is manual. Again Asus does a better job at this.


Camera


The camera provided by all three devices are of low resolution (1.3 Mega Pixel). The HK video units came with front facing camera as well but as far as I am concerned the resolution is way too low.


Reliability


I had to reset the 9.9 inch tablet at least six times to factory mode. I encountered frequent failures where the core applications such as Calendar, Gmail stopped working. After my last reset, I accidentally chose the wrong timezone. I was unable to change it without resetting the device back to factory mode.


The HK Video phone is now at the shop because the touch screen stopped working. This happened once before but recovered by itself after a few days.


The Asus unit is much more reliable. I have not had much trouble with it.

Usage


The 9.9 inch tablet is used mainly to read emails, calendar invites, facebook and Google Plus. The 5.5 inch phone is used more for gaming and alarm. The Asus is used more for gaming and YouTube.


Dimension


The 5.5 inch phone is way too bulky to comfortably bring around. The 9.9 inch table is fine but I am not able to use it in the office since it is not able to connect to our Wifi.


The Asus is a bit big as a regular phone but is thin enough that it fits great on the car dashboard, as a GPS device.


Others


HK Video now has phones that match the dimension for Samsung S4 and Note 2.


Conclusion


It is still worthwhile to pay the premium for Samsung, HTC and Asus. Those devices are still more reliable compared to their cheap alternatives.