android multi-windows support

I’m Joe the Android Guy, and I’ve written over 1,500 articles for Pocketnow. How many of those were written on an Android-powered device? Sadly, only a handful. I would have expected someone with the moniker of “the Android Guy” to use that platform for the majority of the work he does. If you did too, I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you.

Android AutoAndroid is a great operating system. It scales from phones and phablets, to tablets of virtually any size, and even to media players, in-dash computers for your car, and even wristwatches.

What it doesn’t do is offer a viable platform for replacing your desktop or laptop computer. I write my articles on a laptop or desktop computer running Microsoft Windows. At any given time I have a Chrome browser with a dozen tabs, a spreadsheet, a word processor, and graphics editing program open. I’ll fact-check in one browser window pinned to one side of my screen and write my articles in another browser window pinned to the other side. I’ll find and edit images, and upload them into my articles. I’ll find quotes and statistics to include in my articles. All of this requires numerous programs and a bunch of apps running concurrently. That’s something Android just can’t do today – and it’s well beyond the time when it should.

Whether it’s a tablet or smartphone, either can have a keyboard and mouse paired to it via Bluetooth. In that configuration, there’s no reason why an Android, powered by a multi-core Snapdragon processor with a gaming-class GPU, multiple gigs of RAM, Bluetooth, WiFi, and broadband Internet built in shouldn’t be able to replace your desktop computer – but it doesn’t and it can’t. Why not? Because despite built-in multi-tasking, you still can’t reliably do two things at the same time.Windows10Screenshots_0013_Layer 1

Multi-tasking

Yes, Android can run many things at once, but Android also automatically closes apps when it needs to free up RAM. If you’re researching an article and writing it up at the same time, there’s a good chance that one of your apps will automatically close while you’re working – swapping between the two running apps. This might cause you to lose your place in the thirty-page whitepaper you were citing from, or it might cause the text that you’ve written (but not yet saved as a draft) to be lost. Neither of these scenarios is acceptable – but it happens often enough that I can’t trust Android when writing articles.

Microsoft has fought with how to balance multi-window support with a touch-friendly interface and finally has something that works included in Windows 10 and Microsoft Surface. multitouch-splitviewThe reasons for being able to interact with two apps on the screen at the same time is the whole reason why Microsoft launched an empire with its Windows lineup. Even Apple recently added multi-window (split-view) support to its tablets running iOS.

For one of today’s mobile platforms to overlook this very simple concept is disheartening. We learned our lesson once, and now we have to wait for the OS-makers to reinvent the wheel?

I long for the day when I, Joe the Android Guy, am able to efficiently write articles about Android-powered devices using an Android-powered phone or tablet. That day has not yet arrived, and if it doesn’t get here soon, Android will find itself playing catchup in an already crowded sea of competition.

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