Why Android’s UI Is Laggy Compared to iOS and Windows Phone

Interesting technical look at the design of Android’s graphics and event processing by Andrew Munn, trying to explain why it feels so laggy compared to iOS and Windows Phone:

Android UI will never be completely smooth because of the design constraints I discussed at the beginning:

  • UI rendering occurs on the main thread of an app
  • UI rendering has normal priority

[…] This is the same reason why Windows Mobile 6.5, Blackberry OS, and Symbian have terrible touch screen performance. Like Android, they were not designed to prioritize UI rendering. Since the iPhone’s release, RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia have abandoned their mobile OS’s and started from scratch. Android is the only mobile OS left that existed pre-iPhone.

I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms before, but I think he’s right. Symbian and the old BlackBerry OS aren’t gone yet, but they’ve been deprecated by Nokia and RIM in favor of OSes designed post-iPhone.

Also funny to see in the comments a few Android fans denying that Android is laggy. “I don’t mind Android’s relative UI lagginess because of X, Y, and Z other things that Android does better than any other mobile OS” is a reasonable stance. “It is a myth that Android has issues with lagginess and UI responsiveness” is not.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011