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.
Speaking to The Verge about the Pixel's first Feature Drop update, VP of Product for Pixel Sabrina Ellis claims that one of the features of that update—improved memory management—will eventually come to other Android smartphones. This implicitly confirms that the feature is not a Pixel-specific optimization, but rather a change in the Android platform itself.
The insight here, though, is that this means many Android phones may not take advantage of these changes to the way Android handles RAM for quite some time. That's because Google is likely introducing this change as part of a larger, platform-level update in the Pixel's quarterly Feature Drop, changes many phonemakers may not choose to integrate until Android 11.
It could only be a PhoneBuff video if you find a robotic arm flicking through a smartphone. The latest video on the YouTube channel pits the Google Pixel 4 XL against the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max in a performance test. To nobody’s surprise, the Apple flagship took the lead while the Pixel 4 XL did show some signs of improvement over its predecessor. Even if you don’t approve of such speed tests, they do bring out some crucial points on how a phone handles demanding conditions.
Android Q won't just bring new features, it's also set to further improve on the performance of previous Android releases via some tweaks to its ART compiler. In addition to detailing some recent benefits made to app distribution — which current devices running Android P will benefit from — Google also detailed some more technical changes to how ART improves app performance in Android Q.
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?