Saturday, September 14, 2019

Pie sucks at multitasking

Things that Pie has wrought: Google's curse.

Overview now has a more useful grid like view. Aside from the nauseating effect that happens when closing an app makes them all resort but at least it is really fast on the Tab S3's hardware. on the downside multitasking is now chunky and fundamentally broken.

In the previous version the overview screen was a chunky phone centric sliding flipper but apps had a button on the side of their card, so you could open them in the current side of the screen. Now each app has its icon on the top of the card, and you get a menu when you tap the icon. Containing app info (used to be long touch/hold), open in split view, open in pop up (floating window) view, or lock the app. Which is a lot slower but at least flexible.

So instead of very, very quick access to snapping an app to either side of the screen: you get very slow access to deciding if you want it split or floating. The ability to just turn the currently running application into a floating window has been removed. Which is both good and bad: the gesture was easy to trip when you didn't mean to but was also extremely convenient if you wanted something like a calculator floating over a web page. I'm not sure if the UI the device used on Oreo was a Sammy thing or a Google thing, but it was pretty nice.

Now here's why I say fundamentally broken in Pie.

Splitting the screen and hitting overview used to place the overview in the currently active side of the screen. So if you wanted to replace one of the applications, you just tapped it and hit overview. Vola, really fast and simple and obvious. And good if you decided both apps needed to change before you were done.

After updating to pie: the overview ALWAYS opens in the bottom or the right side of the screen, based on whether you're in portrait or landscape orientation. I have yet to find any way to invert the split apps--you used to tap the resize bar in between and have a UI to switch them. 'Cuz that is useful. Now you're stuck with the first app chosen being in the top/left side until you're done. You might think the first app would show up and you could just select it again? Nope, its card gets removed from the overview.

Likewise you can only stuff in apps from the overview grid that were running. I used to be able to hit a button and select apps from a launcher instead of requiring them to be already opened in the background.

But really, whose fault is it for destroying the multitasking functions? Google's. It's Google's fault. Why do I say this? Because my Google Fi phone running Android One and its pure Googely experience has virtually the same broken multitasking UI. The only real difference is my Samsung changes the string "Split view" to "Open in split view" and adds the popup and lock entries to the menu. Likewise on the phone sized screen it's a sliding view of the exact same cards rather than a grid view of them.

Suddenly I realize why DeX became so popular among users of newer model Tab S's that shipped with it. It's not because DeX mode is that more PC like: it's because Google fucked Android's multitasking experience. And I fear, if I was to dig up the CDD for Pie, it would say OEMs aren't allowed to fix it anymore, lol.

Of course my model being older, DeX is not a feature that was integrated into it. Much like how my model was the first to get USB-C charging but alt modes for driving a monitor didn't show up until the Tab S4, which does have DeX. Reasons to buy an iPad, += 1.

I find it a great shame. Samsung has done multitasking for so many years, I first used it on my Galaxy SIII phone a very long time ago.  In recent years it became a standard piece of Android, which was a really good thing until Google pissed down the feature's throat and crippled its utility for real multitasking.

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