Hi. My name is Adam Saunders and I live in the world of 1's and 0's. This is my tiny contribution the vastness of internet information. It's just an opinion and should you have your own, please comment it!
I love to jump to conclusions about a forthcoming update to HTC's Hero phone, but the evidence does seem to suggest that the universal moaning surrounding the device "lagging" has driven HTC to pull their finger out and do something about it.
I have to say, as a HTC Hero user, I'm not finding this lag a problem, just an annoyance. An update to resolve this would in fact have a massive impact in those choosing to compare the HTC Hero with the iPhone, where their only difference is the responsiveness differences, and that's down to the way the two devices operate. HTC Hero can run many apps at the same time (multi-tasking) and iPhone cannot except a few core apps of its own. If the Hero can run as smoothly as the iPhone, then that will be a massive one-up on the much more expensive counterpart.
This video by Paul from Modaco shows an early release of the ROM, and although short, shows a pretty much lag-less HTC Hero.
I'm staying sceptic at the moment as there is a little lag showing up on the device at around 1:22 where the widget loading gives a VERY SLIGHT jigger, however reports from others that have managed to get their hands on the pre-release ROM such as Evan Selleck of the HTC Hero Facebook group, seem convinced that the update is a winner.
My scepticism in these reports is that the most noticeable lag only comes up after extended period of use, and I've dealt with most of mine through the experiments I've been running. These people have just reset their phones, which always seems MUCH faster after doing so and for a few days. Time will tell exactly how much this update improves the performance, and I'm sure HTC will have been on the case, and will continue to be as long as people have a need to report the problem.
When is this update expected? Rumours say mid-September, which would be about the right time-scale considering the timing of these leaks put out for people to test and report on.
If you are having problems with your HTC Hero lagging, you probably already tried fitting a Class 6 SDHC memory card into the device.. If not you must do this! It really does make a big difference to the overall performance of the device.
After installing a few apps etc you may still be getting some problems, and I've noticed that different people are getting different behaviour which doesn't really make sense if we were to blame the HTC processing power, or the HTC software optimisation.
Today I was playing with a friends HTC Hero after he said it was lagging and although he has now the same SD card as I do, and after his first factory reset the phone was flying along, his Hero is experiencing much more lag than mine. Mine currently (touching wood) is flying along, and is as slick as ever, but it wasn't after some time of use, but it is now, and it might be down to an experiment that I'm trying.
This time I'm not going to change any of the hardware, or put the devices through resets, but I am going to change the way I use the HTC Hero.
In previous posts I've talked about using apps like TasKill and TaskPanel to close down processes that don't need to be running any more. The theory is that closing as many of these as possible will free up memory and processing time, and thus reduce lag like any conventional computing device.. But I've found that Android doesn't work like this. It has its own process and memory management that makes this original concept of "resident" processes obsolete, and thus TasKill and TaskPanel apps are really only good for closing hanging applications, which I have to say I've not had yet. So the first part of my experiment to NOT close processes.
The second part of the experiment is the way I believe the stand-by part of the Android platform works.. or perhaps how HTC Hero (Sense) behaves whilst in stand-by. I believe (happy to be corrected with proof) that some applications don't do the same processing as they would when the device is on, thus when you wake the HTC Hero it is doing various "catch up" tasks. One hunch that I have is that if you force the device into stand-by by tapping the "hang-up/power" button, that these processes are forced into their "sleep mode". This is all well and good, but if you constantly wake and sleep the device, these processes aren't getting a chance to finish what they started to do, and possibly due to poor threading management of these applications, some of the threads are hanging up causing the phone to slowly ground to a halt the more times the device is on and off stand-by. This is entire speculation, and is just based against my development knowledge and the general behaviour of the device.. essentially a professional hunch. I could be completely wrong, but this is why I'm experimenting with this idea by NOT putting the phone into stand-by almost as soon as I've only just woken it up.
I want to ask others to try this out, as over the last week I've been trying this, it seems to be working, and I've not had to close any processes or restart the phone! But I don't want this to be utter coincidence, and the other way to tell is for others to try this out as well.
Post a comment if you are going to try it out, and let me know over a week or two of use, if you have noticed any reduction in extended lag.
I'm finding that some of the applications that I want to try out have very suspicious capabilities according to the installation warning. Whenever you install an Android applications from the Android Market, it will tell you what parts of the phone and its services the application needs to access, however there are the odd few that request access to things that clearly aren't appropriate. For example, when would a card game need to access your text messages and the internet!?!
Just a warning, although this could simply be lazy administration from the developer, or possibly an error at the Market, I would still recommend reading carefully the warning that the market gives, and if it needs access to areas of the device which is shouldn't, don't install it. It would be nice to think that all Android developers are thumbs up for "the cause", but with any 3rd party applications like this, they can't all be properly vetted, and therefore there is a strong possibility of a handful that could be abusing this trust.
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These are the declassified opinions of Adam Saunders. I take no responsibility for the effect these opinions may have on you. Do not read with care...