Is a Task Killer Necessary For Android?

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Is a Task Killer Necessary For Android?

I was perusing Androidforums.com today for some software tips and stumbled on a few threads that maintained there was no reason to use a task killer with Android. These posters maintained that the OS was efficient enough to shut down programs that weren’t necessary and manage memory without a 3rd party intervention.

When I bought my Droid, every Verizon employee told me to install “Advanced Task Killer”, so I’ve been running it since I bought the phone. I’ve also been incredibly frustrated with my non-Gmail email, as the built-in email program simply wasn’t notifying me of messages. It got to the point where I downloaded K9 Mail, another mail app, but it was awfully buggy. The default app was more stable, and looked better in my opinion; it just wouldn’t check my mail at preset intervals!

Apparently, my downloading “Advanced Task killer” and the email issue were related. As per a post in the Droid forums, I uninstalled ATK, and now my emails are flowing in from the default program with no issues. Also, my “window shade” notification menu flows a lot smoother. Otherwise, I haven’t noticed a difference in performance, and I’ve had the usual complement of GTalk messages, emails, texts, music playing, etc all running.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in the Linux underpinnings of Android, and I still think I am quite the newbie at the Android OS. But this tip has saved me some serious email related frustration, and I’m starting to realize this is probably why Astrid (a to-do program) was also flaky at notifying me of missed tasks. I plan to track my battery over the next few days, and if anything seems unusual or out of the ordinary I will definitely update here!

Do you use a task killer on your Android phone? Is it really necessary, or is it a holdover from those of us who have used Windows Mobile? Share your thoughts below!

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About the Author

Zek
Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

4 Comments on "Is a Task Killer Necessary For Android?"

  1. I don’t, and have yet to have an issue with performance.

  2. While it may not be necessary, I do think it’s very useful. My mom and me both got the same device (HTC Magic) but we use it quite differently. I have Twidroid Pro refreshing every 15 minutes, use my device for IM, etc., but I also charge it every night before I go to sleep.
    My mom is more an occasional user.

    However, this morning she complained that she recharged the device only hours ago, and that the battery was already drained to about 50%. When we looked at which apps drained her battery most, it appeared to be the browser and a game. And she hadn’t used either one of them today! So I recommended to install a Task Manager, which she did this morning.

    Most Task Killers have an Ignore feature by the way. I tell my task manager to ignore apps like Twidroid, because I don’t want them killed. When closing all apps, my task manager will leave Twidroid running.

  3. Francis Scardino | December 29, 2009 at 9:12 am |

    I like Taskiller. Has a nice widget and works great. Cant measure a performance difference but does give you available RAM for piece of mind.

  4. Joel McLaughlin | December 29, 2009 at 9:18 am |

    One thing to remember about Android is it is only like Linux with regards to it using the Kernel. Android apps do not use traditional UNIX programs like Xorg. Since the apps are based on Java, Garbage collection should take care of these but it doesn’t work sometimes.

    Do I use a Task Killer? Yes. This is mainly to kill apps like Twidroid and other apps that I do not want to suck the life out of my battery. Apps like Wardrive and more will suck the life out of things. It’s not a performance thing. When things slow down, I don’t just kill everything. You can also have it exclude certain processes LIKE Email. That way you can kill other apps but leave apps like Gmail and Email running all the time.

    I also use Locale which helps manage settings that can also increase battery life.

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