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Improving Android 4.1’s Responsiveness with ‘Project Butter’

Source: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean/ Android

When Google released its next mobile operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, this July, it will also feature the “Project Butter.” It is a processing framework that is designed to speed up the user interface responsiveness and graphics processing of a device.

Jelly Bean + Project Butter

Project Butter  is expected to reduce latency, increase intuitiveness and make Jelly Bean’s overall performance smoother. This is made in an effort to reduce the prominent issue of perceived lagging seen in previous Android versions.

In addition, the software uses “vsync timing” for all of Android 4.1’s graphics drawing and animations. This ensures constant frame rate, which allows for a smoother operating environment that is meant to be effortless and intuitive. All graphical assets of Google’s next mobile OS include application rendering, touch events, and display refreshes. These are all synced against vsync clock that runs at a snappy 16 milliseconds.

The search engine giant is focusing on user interactivity, that’s why they are reducing the lag time between screen touch and user interface response. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean can also anticipate where a user’s finger will land after the next screen refresh.

It may seem exaggerated, but it is possible for an OS to “guess” what graphical asset a user will likely touch next. Although it is unclear how Jelly Bean can calculate input data, this functionality can result in a “more reactive and uniform touch response.” Android 4.1 will also apply CPU boost to the user’s next touch event in order to reduce perceived lag.

Other than perceiving a user’s next touch event, Google’s mobile operating system also has the “systrace” developer tool. It collects data straight from the Linux kernel and displays it in a “vertically stacked” time series graphs. It also helps in isolating rendering interruptions and other OS issues. The systrace tool is available in the Android SDK for tools R20 and higher.

What Lies Ahead for Android 4.1

While it is yet to be seen what Project Butter can offer, this could make up some ground for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean against Apple iOS. The two mobile OS have been compared a lot of times, with many saying that Apple’s software is smoother and has a more intuitive interface. However, the battle between the two may be leveled when Google’s new mobile OS becomes available next month.

The first device that will feature Android 4.1 is the Nexus 7; a 7-inch tablet that features 1280 x 800-pixel screen, NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, and 12-core GPU.

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