It’s not a secret that Android has a reputation of being… laggy. When it comes to high-end phones, those days are pretty much gone, but mid-range and budget devices could use some more “smoothness”.
Part of the problem is the power-hungry operating system. Android is famous for running many background processes, and therefore devices require more powerful hardware to cope with the demanding system.
The “smooth” old days
In the past ten years, hardware has seen a massive bump. For example, RAM has increased from 2-3GB to 8-12, and even 16-18GB on some high-end gaming phones like the ROG Phone 5
& Ultimate edition
. Processing power is almost on par with Apple
‘s flagship chipsets found in the iPhone 12
, although it leaves a little bit to be desired when it comes to graphics.
Nevertheless, the massive bump in RAM and horsepower delivers excellent performance in every day-to-day scenario. Even companies like Samsung that had a reputation of making “laggy” phones (thanks to the heavily-tweaked TouchWiz UI on top of Android), have come to deliver stellar results in the performance department.
12th time’s a charm
is finally starting to pay attention to other aspects of “smoothness”. Android 12
is said to introduce tighter control on background processes like the Android System Server, Activity Window, and Package Manager.
These background processes often “talk to each other at the same time”, which often makes budget and mid-range devices “think” more than they need to in order to respond to both the user’s demand and the background processes.
“There are multiple different parts of the system trying to talk to the OS at the same time, and that’s when you see things jitter… By smoothing all of that out… we’ve been able to make all the motion and animation super-smooth.”
Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management for Android & Google Play
This won’t be a “feature” you can turn on/off. Google promises that the less attention-seeking background process will make your phone feel smoother, faster, and more responsive. The key gains will be in animations – they are expected to be less jittery. This should also improve the gesture navigation system, which has been noticeably less polished than the one on the iPhone.
Together with Qualcomm’s increasingly powerful chipsets, and the trendy high-refresh-rate screens, this is expected to make all Android phones feel faster than they did before. Of course, we are looking forward to testing Android 12 ourselves before jumping to any conclusions, but we are excited. Especially about budget phones, which will become even more competitive than they were before.
This, together with the new visuals, widgets, and the upcoming privacy features (seeking to match Apple’s recent security effort
), makes Android a more… polished version of its old self, and we dig it.