HTC's One devices have been recipients of a lot of love from consumers and reviewers alike since we first saw them in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress. I reviewed the HTC One X from AT&T yesterday and had mostly great things to say about it. Aside from expected mediocre battery life from the integrated battery and no option to expand storage space, the device is topnotch. It is a beautifully designed device with some of the best specifications money can buy.
Recently, however, I have had more and more people asking me about the "multitasking issue" with the One X.
The issue is one that has been talked about non-stop in forums since the One X launched earlier this month on AT&T. Users are complaining that memory management on the One X is very aggressive and that it doesn't appear as if applications are properly being stored in cache. In other words, a recent application's state is not saved and reloads when switching between apps using the Recent Apps function, or a music streaming application, such as Slacker Radio, will inevitably be killed off as you begin to switch between tasks.
Curious and wanting to get to the bottom of the debacle, Engadget reached out to HTC for comment. Much to users' dismay, however, what Engadget learned is that the One X is working properly according to HTC. The official statement reads:
"HTC is aware of some questions in the enthusiast community about how the HTC One X handles multitasking and memory management for background apps. We value the community's input and are always looking for ways to enhance customers' experience with our devices. That said, multitasking is operating normally according to our custom memory management specifications which balance core ICS features with a consistent HTC Sense experience."
Essentially, what it means is HTC has, in fact, tweaked the Recent Apps and multitasking features of Ice Cream Sandwich. They have customized these feature to work as they see fit with the Sense experience and it will differ from stock Android. It is working on the One X (and the other One devices) as intended.
Have I experienced this with my One X? Yes. On more than one occasion. Is it really a problem? For me, no. For others, possibly.
I noticed it almost immediately after turning the One X on for the first time and switching between a few apps. I noticed that Web pages would reload after switching between a couple apps and coming back. I also noticed that Plume would reload every time I opened it. It happens very frequently.
To be perfectly honest, though, it has yet to bother me. In day to day usage, I haven't even given it second thought. Sure, Plume reloads every time I open it or switch to it which, at most, takes no more than a second. Sometimes, reloading is so quick, it is barely noticeable – the application looks blurred for a split second and then resumes. The same can be said of Gmail, Talk, Instagram, Pocket and virtually all of the applications I use on a regular basis.
All the while, Spotify continues streaming in the background without a hitch. I am currently streaming Spotify – and have been for about 30 minutes – from my One X without a single stutter, even while text messaging, tweeting and using Talk. No amount of switching applications changes that. Each application flashes and reloads every time I switch, yet it is fast enough to not bother me any. And I've explained in the past just how impatient I am with applications. I'm not one for biting my tongue when it comes to issues with smartphones, and if I had a problem with the multitasking on the One X, I most certainly would have made it known by now.
Maybe it doesn't bother be because I don't regularly use the Recent Apps function; I usually resort to hitting Home and launching applications from my various home screens instead. And I never do a ton of multitasking while Web browsing, which is where this issue really rears it head – reloading a page every time you switch out of and back into Browser or Chrome can and would be very annoying. However, when I browse via mobile, I typically use Google Reader, Zite and Pocket to do all of my reading and use Browser for research and searching various things.
The issue is a big one for some folks; the 56-page thread dedicated to the issue on xda-developers is a testament to that. But it's one that has yet to really bother me at all. And I figure the majority of people who use the One X will probably never notice the difference. Most will be coming from Gingerbread, which doesn't boast great multitasking features to begin with.
If you are a heavy multitasking user, you may want to consider getting something other than a One device. However, I would consider myself a pretty hardcore multitasker, and I have had next to no issues so far.
What say you, One owners? Do you have a problem with the way HTC has manipulated Recent Apps and multitasking on Ice Cream Sandwich in Sense 4? Or have you yet to notice a big difference? Sound off and share your sentiments below.