The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first device to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, was one of the most hotly anticipated smartphones of 2011. With a 1.2 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and either 16 GB or 32GB of internal storage it promised to be one of the fastest smartphones on the market. Yet some users have complained of a sluggish app performance. Now new advice has been released to fix the problem.
Integration and the ability to run third-party apps has been a growth market for Android. Both designers and users have welcomed a bigger Android Market; by the end of October 2011 there were over 300,000 apps. It might not match the 500,000 available in the App Store but the increase over the course of the last 12 months was part of a marked growth in the popularity of Android. Third party apps increase user satisfaction and integration with a wider digital community. From games to movies, social networks and news sources it goes right to the heart of why people love smartphones, making them personal.
With Ice Cream Sandwich marking an advance in technology for Android, many users might have expected this element of their enjoyment of the smartphone to get a further injection of speed, along with the new processor. But the joy, for some, quickly turned to frustration. Some complained apps simply weren’t running as they would expect. A lag or slowness in response made some think the technology advance was not enough. Ice Cream Sandwich supports what is called hardware acceleration for apps, meaning they should perform as fast as the device they are running on can support. For the Galaxy Nexus, this is fast. Yet scrolling, zooming and other operations are not performing as quickly. In some cases the Android apps will need to be updated but as users have shown, official Google aps are running just fine.
It’s not the first hiccup associated with the Galaxy Nexus. Google had to release a fix late in 2011 after users reported a volume problem where the sound would drop out. Only affecting users on select bandwidths the fix may have worked but marred an otherwise successful launch.
So what should owners of the Galaxy Nexus do? Wait for app developers to update them and suffer with a slower performance or utilize the new feature? Some tech developers have found a temporary fix which can improve the running of third party apps on the flagship device. It doesn’t work on all apps but is a cure.
First users should head to the Notifications Bar and select the Settings icon. In the menu select Developer options and make sure the “Force GPU Rendering” option is selected (a blue tick will appear next to it when it is). The smartphone then needs to be re-started.
New technology and faster smartphones do give a headache for app developers who constantly need to play catch-up. While this fix won’t apply to all apps on the Galaxy Nexus as more and more developers integrate GPU rendering it will mean apps will perform better on the device, leading to less frustration from new users.