18 November 2013
Anyone who has a modern Android smartphone will know that Google's operating system is generally quite smooth. This is one of the reasons that so many manufacturers have chosen to use it for their phones. Even budget phones can run Android, albeit with one or two hiccups and moments of lag when too many apps are running at the same time.
Last year Google even announced something called Project Butter, which was an explicit attempt to try to improve performance even more with further optimisations to the OS. However, even this in-house initiative has not proven to be satisfactory for the search giant, as this month it was announced that it had snapped up French company FlexyCore for a cool £14.4 million, according to Engadget.
FlexyCore produces a number of different Android-oriented software solutions, and the most significant in terms of this deal with Google is DroidBooster. This is basically an optimisation tool that can make apps run faster in an Android environment without also putting a strain on the battery and limiting the lifespan of a smartphone or tablet due to overworking the processor. GigaOm points out that most of FlexyCore's apps have been pulled from the Play store in the wake of the takeover, with a spokesperson for Google revealing that the team from this company are already hard at work on projects for Google. The next version of Android, revealed as bearing the name KitKat by Google, is just around the corner, although of course the optimisations which FlexyCore is likely to bring to the table are not going to be relevant for those running high-end handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 or Sony Xperia Z1. Instead, it is hoped that it will help to make Android 4.4 work well on those lower-end devices that do not have the benefit of multi-core processors or gigabyte after gigabyte of RAM available to them. There are plenty of people spending their money on low-end Android smartphones because there is really little sacrificed in making this decision, other than bragging rights and the quality of the materials used in handset construction.
At the moment it is not possible to use mobile phone accessories or other add-ons to boost performance, as handsets are locked-down and difficult for anyone but a professional to tinker with under the skin. This means that software optimisation is the best route to take in order to achieve performance boosts. While we may eventually see modular smartphones with upgradable processors and expandable RAM on board, but until then companies such as Google will need to work with third-party teams, or even buy them out, as in the case of FlexyCore, to make the most out of the hardware that is available.
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Rahima Aktar on Monday, November 18, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Software and Processors