Battery life has been an Android bugbear for years. While Google has made some significant changes to its mobile OS to improve things (with success, I'd argue), many popular smartphone makers still feel the need to take further steps to enhance longevity — and it's coming at a cost. Many go above and beyond the battery life enhancements featured in so-called "stock" Android, and frequently these alterations cause problems, resulting in issues ranging from delayed notifications, to prematurely killed apps, and even outright breaking behaviors that developers rely on. In fact, the lack of predictability that has ensued under the current laissez-faire power management scheme has become so dire that it recently took the top spot in a developer AMA request thread for Android 11 on reddit.
Google's Android AMA is underway, and the team's engineers have already answered the most hotly-anticipated question: How will Google fix the problem of inconsistent background limits across different manufacturers and devices? It's a long-standing problem where overly aggressive power management tweaks break functionality in plenty of apps, resulting in a headache for developers and frustration for users. According to the AMA, Google does plan on making a few changes to help fix things, but the company isn't doing all that it could.
OnePlus just published a recap of its second "Open Ears Forum" from all the way back in May. At the event, it gathered a handful of developers and fans central to the OnePlus community to solicit their feedback. Four months later, the company has revealed a set of changes influenced by that feedback, including more timely kernel sources for Open Betas and a new bounty program for reporting vulnerabilities. Most importantly for customers, though, OnePlus has promised to finally fix how aggressive its software is at killing apps in the background.
Google's recent batch of Pixels aren'twithout their issues, and as more phones get in consumer's hands, new reports of problems surface. The latest controversy stems from the Pixel 3's apparent inability to shuffle more than a few apps at a time. In fact, taking a photo is apparently enough to kill Spotify if it's playing music in the background, and in our own tests cycling more than 3-4 apps can force some out of memory. Maybe 4GB of RAM wasn't enough for a flagship phone in 2018 after all, Google?