Rooting for juice

I have an Android phone, specifically the HTC Desire. It came with Android 2.1 on it and I’ve been very happy with it, it makes my long commute bearable.

One of the first apps I installed was Advanced Task Killer, I found that without it my phone would periodically become sluggish and unresponsive. There are some apps that it can’t kill however, actually it can but they come back. Curious about this I did some searching and found many discussions but no solutions.

In these discussions there were a group of people who were adamant that task killer apps were pointless, and could actually degrade performance in some cases. This was contrary to my experience and so I dismissed them. Recently though, I have done something that caused me to re-evaluate their assertions.

A couple of weeks ago the Android 2.2 update was finally pushed to my phone, but along with it came a bunch of crapware I don’t want and can’t use (literally, it only works in Germany and I’m UK). These apps pushed up the non-killable apps on my phone to an unacceptable level and made my battery life suck so I decided to take the plunge and root my phone. My battery on 2.1 would last about a day with my typical usage, which is fine, with 2.2 however it would often die before I got home from work.

I wasn’t too hopeful that removing the crap would fix this, as it seemed ridiculous that a few apps I never used could suck up so much juice. It was worth a try though.

Rooting my phone proved to be exceedingly simple, actually removing the apps less so, but I eventually managed it and to my surprise it did indeed fix my battery life problems.

Not only do I not have a bunch of apps running that I never use, the apps I do use stay in memory and so start faster (not noticeable for most, but for one or two it makes a difference). I think this is the situation the anti-task-killer people are in, without the crap auto-running I don’t need to kill anything, the system works as it was designed to. A stock Android system works fine without killers, but when you load it up with auto-running crap it is a different story.

Please phone makers and carrier companies, by all means install extra apps on your phones, but don’t make them auto-run, it buggers things up more than you know.