Imagine being in an emergency and needing to place a call. You grab your phone and dial, then wait 20 to 30 seconds before the dialer initiates the call. In many cases, you naturally get impatient and stab at the green button a few more times. Guess what happens after the call is initiated 30 seconds later, when you end that call, the dialer re-dials the number as many times as you stabbed at the button earlier. Insane! As crazy as it is, this has been my experience with the Xperia P.
Back in April, I wrote about how the Sony Xperia P’s phone app now lags. It is a huge, annoying and inconveniencing lag in that app. At the time of writing that article, I was convinced that it was purely an issue with Sony’s products. Yesterday, I happened to mention this issue to a friend who owns a Samsung Galaxy Pocket. I was taken aback when he proceeded to narrate how he experiences the same issue on his Galaxy Pocket. His sentiment is that the issue is that of Android. It has to be, unless Samsung and Sony share code for their dialers. Or they both just decided to make life hellish for people who want to make a good old fashioned phone call.
My friend thinks that it is an issue that spring s from the phones running low on RAM. While the Galaxy Pocket comes with around 386MB of RAM, the Xperia P comes with 1GB RAM. Even at that, the Xperia manifests noticeable lags in many areas – launching any of web browser, Twitter, Facebook and others, as well as the horrible lag after dialing a number. Android forums across the web are littered with these sort of complaints across a wide range of Android smartphones – HTC Evo 4G LTE, LG Esteem, and HTC Legend, among others. No-one has a definite answer as to what causes this phenomenon, but some of the possible causes suggested include:
– contacts synchronisation
– rogue applications
– RAM issues
To explore the contacts synchronisation angle, I disabled all forms of contacts synchronisation – Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, et al, but the issue didn’t go away. Strike synchronisation off the list.
As for rogue applications, I shall not be uninstalling all my apps one by one to find which one of them is behind this issue. The pains of doing just that…..
The RAM angle sounded plausible to me. Perhaps there is some memory leakage resulting in this. I don’t have any way to tell convincingly. One thing I am sure of with Android is that one can never be sure of a uniform experience. Everything differs from one phone to another – features, performance and all what not. At this rate, one will need a degree in rocket science to be able to ensure that one purchases an Android smartphone that behaves as one desires.
Problem Identified. Not Solved
Finally, I found someone who seemed to know what he was talking about in relation to this dialer lag problem here: Phone app (dial/contacts) lag is related to android.process.acore, can anybody fix it? Do not rejoice yet. Identifying the problem does not necessarily mean that a solution is in sight. There is a lot of geeky code thrown around there, like this:
for pidacore in `pidof android.process.acore`; do
/system/xbin/echo “-17” > /proc/$pidacore/oom_adj;
renice -20 $pidacore;
You have no idea what that means? Good. Me too. And it is not as if the code solved the problem. Three pages of all sorts of suggestions, none of which solve the problem. Sigh. But the bottom line is that it is Android that is messing with our heads. No matter how you look at it, Android is just not resource efficient. The fan boys will tear into me right here, but what the heck!
If only Microsoft would stop being silly and add 3G-only network mode and the ability to attach Office and PDF documents in emails to Windows Phone, I would switch from Android in half a heartbeat and put myself out of this misery of inconsistent experiences. Microsoft, how hard can those two things be that it is taking you years to implement? I have never been a fan of Android’s inefficient resource management, and a situation like this is just not helping matters.
This is just not right. Not by a long stretch.