David Wood recently wrote an interesting post on why he thinks multitasking on mobile devices is not only nice to have but rather despite still not all smartphones support it today. However, Symbian based devices have supported this for many years and it's one of the reasons why I'm a Nokia N- and Eseries fan boy. But let's put it to the test, which programs am I running simultaneously on my mobile (see picture on the left):
- Profimail to receive e-mail.
- The phone configuration utility. Always running so I can get quickly to some often used functions such as 2G/3G network selection, call forwarding, etc.
- Nokia maps. Especially important when traveling
- Opera Mini
- The clock and alarm application
- A counter application that shows my data usage
- The SMS program
- The screenshot program
And sometimes there's also the music player, the podcast client, the calender, the address book and more running in the background in addition to the list above. Not necessarily because they all need to run but because there is no need to quit them as they don't consume resources while they sit in the background and by letting them run I can get to them really fast and pick up from where I left them.
Returning to the last state is a really important feature for me, especially with the maps application and Opera Mini. In Opera Mini it's a joy to instantly return to it after doing something else and to be able to quickly go back several pages without a new reload. And as far as the maps application is concerned it's great to see where I was last and to have a new GPS fix within a couple of seconds.
Sure, to some degree this can be 'simulated' by saving the state of the application before it is quit. However, returning to the application and restoring the state costs time. But why simulate it when you can have the real thing?