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.

As I watch my tablet upgrade to Android 9, I find my mind flashing to when my phone updated closer to Pie’s release–and the distinct feeling that “All my icons are different for no good reason. Other than that: it’s hard to tell anything changed.”

But it’s worth noting, I use my Galaxy Tab S3 excessively every day, but my Moto X4 is only lightly used. Because unless I’m literally walking around in public or answering a text message in the middle of the night: there’s a 95% chance that I’ll use my tablet instead.

Both devices were released in 2017 and had Android 7/Nougat as their original operating system image. The primarily difference is my Android One edition got Pie around Christmas time and my Sammy gets pie to the face shortly after Android 10 launches.

That’s par for course for Samsung’s tablets in the past, except seeing three major OS versions on one tablet is odd for them; I had the upgrade to Android 8/Oreo to be the Tab S3’s final operating system based on previous experiences with their high end tablets. I’ve owned a lot of those.

If anything actually changes that makes me give a flying floop, it’ll probably rely on Samsung’s UI customizations. Because on the more “Pure” load my phone uses, “Damn it, my icons are all different”, really was the most noticeable difference. The bit about text selection might be more in my face on a tablet but wasn’t necessary on my phone, nor is it on my big screen; especially with pen in hand.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 still getting security patches four years after release

In recent years: Samsung has done well to resolve the one problem I actually had with their firmware updates: the lack of security patches.

Generally, I found upgrades to knew versions of Android were nearly a year behind their phones. Perhaps a small price to pay given they were largely stable releases and the tablet builds cut most of the bloat from their phones while keeping the useful features.

Android has also evolved into such a state that I don’t really care about getting the latest version of the OS anymore. By the time Google does something user facing that worth while: it’s almost time for a new device. Kind of like a certain other operating system: the previous version or two still runs most of the apps.

The part that’s bothered me is the security updates. Most of my tablets didn’t get squat for that, as security was bundled with the OS upgrades and the occasional patch.

Meanwhile the Tab S2 and Tab S3 have been a very different experience versus the other Samsung Tablets I’ve owned over the years. Pretty much every quarter the security patches rolls out. Seeing security patches every 3-4 months is a lot better than every 8-16 months or so. On the flip side my Motorola on Google Fi gets monthly patching.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Hands-On: Keyboard and S Pen.

I’ve never really been a big fan of Samsung’s cases, be them the flappy cover or the same with a keyboard stuffed in. But I’ve gotta admit that keyboard/kickstand approach makes an interesting case.

This also gives me some hope, since my Tab S3’s cracked screen ain’t going to get any better and the alternatives are rather few without migrating to an iPad Pro.

Cheapskate Handy repurposing of old stuff: turning my multimedia dock into a spare tablet stand.

After writing this the other day, I was a bit tempted to get another stand similar to the Anker I use in my living room or just transition one of my Breffo Spider Podiums to my desk.

Rooting around in the closet to see if I had any spare Spider podiums to use as a headphone stand, I foumd my old Samsung multimedia dock. Sadly it became a paper weight when I upgraded from the Tab S2 to the Tab S3, much as I traded external monitor support for S-Pen capability when I did. Without Samsung’s old 11-pin MHL/MicroUSB and driver support the ports are basically useless. Shame because it was a great one cable and done docking station when I used my tablet as my workstation.

But the little fellow still remains physically useful as a stand since my Tab S3 still fits in the slot. Thus one problem solved by recycling, and not having to spend a dime; this makes me happy even if the poor dock is no longer able to fulfil its original purpose. It is still useful for more than keeping makkuro kurosuke from settling in /dev/closet.

It also puts my tablet at a fairly convenient angle, hehe.

Forbes: Shock Samsung Confession Fuels Galaxy Note Cancellation Fears.

Another part of why I believe more in tablets then over sized phones: you’ve got more room to spare. Not to mention a bigger screen and sizes that trigger tablet UI layouts in applications.

But in the flip side tablets don’t really do phone calls that well enough you’re doing speakerphone or headsets. You do use your expensive phone for answering phone calls, right? 😉

Also the overall usage gap between my phone and tablet is such that you don’t wanna know how many incoming calls I take on my tablet instead of my phone; be it in the next room or in my pocket.

A little Ray of sunshine after the disappointment of the Tab S5e

Exclusive: This is the Galaxy Tab S6 and it has a dual camera.

A little Ray of sunshine after the disappointment of the Tab S5e.

The return to 16:10 is still as disappointing as it was when the Tab S4 came out, but nothing compared to the saddness of my Tab S3 having a cracked screen and the latest model launching with no pen and mid ranged specs.

I do have to admit though, in terms of hardware it’s becoming harder to justify Samsung’s tablets over Apple’s. Today it’s mostly the fact that behind here since the era of the Steak 7 and EeePad Transformer–I know Android fulfills my software needs with flying colors. While I still expect iOS to make me grumble and groan.

My upgrade path has been looking rocky. Since the crack, the only Android option has been the Tab S4 which is already aged a bit. Over in fruit co land there’s at least the 11″ and 10.5″ iPad Pro models as viable successors.

In reality of course I’d just like my screen’s crack not to expand for another year or two…. Lol.