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'Project Butter' to improve responsiveness in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

post #1 of 109
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When Google's upcoming Android 4.1 Jelly Bean mobile OS hits devices in July it will incorporate "Project Butter," a processing framework designed to speed up UI responsiveness and graphics processing.

The aptly-named Butter is expected to reduce latency, increase intuitiveness and make for a smoother overall experience in an effort to address the prominent issue of perceived lag seen in previous Android iterations. As Android User Experience Director Matias Duarte put it in a Nexus 7 presentation video shown at Google I/O on Wednesday: "We declared a war on laginess."

According to Google's Android developer website, Butter uses so-called "vsync timing" across all graphics drawing and animations to ensure a constant frame rate, allowing for a smoother operating environment that is supposedly "effortless" and "intuitive." All graphical assets including application rendering, touch events, and display refreshes are synced against the vsync clock which runs at a snappy 16 milliseconds.

Google is focusing on user interactivity by reducing the lag time between screen touch and UI response, claiming that Jelly Bean will actually anticipate where a finger will be at the moment of the next screen refresh. While the statement may include a dash of hyperbole, it is possible for an OS to "guess" what graphical asset a user will likely touch next in certain instances like radio buttons or "yes/no" pop up overlays. It is unclear how the OS calculates this input data, but apparently the feature "results in a more reactive and uniform touch response." Finally, after long periods of inactivity, the newest Android build will apply a CPU boost to the next touch event to further reduce perceived lag.

Project Butter
Google's new Nexus 7 tablet will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
driven by "Project Butter." | Source: Google


One of the more unique additions to Jelly Bean is the new "systrace" developer tool that collects data directly from the Linux kernel and displays the gathered information in a "vertically stacked" time series graphs. The process, dubbed "tooling," uses systrace to help in isolating rendering interruptions and other OS issues, affording a bird's-eye view of system operations. Google's systrace tool is available in the Android SDK (tools R20 and higher).

While the overall benefits of Butter have yet to be seen, the graphics-centric initiative looks to make up some ground on the Apple's iOS. The two operating systems have been compared numerous times before and many pundits believe iOS to have the smoother, more intuitive interface though the playing field may be leveled when Jelly Bean arrives next month.

One of the first devices to sport Jelly Bean will be Google's own Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet announced on Wednesday that hopes to nibble at the iPad's massive marketshare. The product should be an ideal testbed for Butter as it uses an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core CPU and 12-core GPU chipset to power a high-resolution 1,280-by-800 pixel display. According to Google's own website, the system will allow for animations of up to 60 frames per second and can chew through edge-to-edge 720p video.
post #2 of 109

This is pretty awesome for a .1 update.

 

It's great that the there will be 4 devices with it right at launch too. It's also going to be easy for OEMs to update from ICS to JB

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post #3 of 109
So Google needs to have a "project" to actually correct deficiencies in Android (e.g. lag) and they call it Butter? How about Project Lube or Project WD-40? For crying out loud.
post #4 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

So Google needs to have a "project" to actually correct deficiencies in Android (e.g. lag) and they call it Butter? How about Project Lube or Project WD-40? For crying out loud.

I don't see what's wrong with it.
 

Apple pushes out updates to increase the performance of their devices too.

 

What's the issue?

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post #5 of 109

Right up there with the name Jelly Bean is the the name of the developer seminar for this project "For Butter or Worse"

 

Are you kidding me?

 

I'll guess "Worse" for $200.

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post #6 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

I don't see what's wrong with it.

 
Apple pushes out updates to increase the performance of their devices too.

What's the issue?

Apple would it call bug fix or a service release. Google want you to think it's a feature not to have lag, and so they call it "Project Butter" - a laughable euphemism.
post #7 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

I don't see what's wrong with it.
 

Apple pushes out updates to increase the performance of their devices too.

 

What's the issue?

I think the issue is that Google and all the Android supporters spent the first three revisions of the OS and the last five years or so claiming that these problems didn't exist, and now (by copying an Apple technique BTW), they attempt to fix them with a special "patch" that runs in the background constantly.  It certainly deserves a huge eye roll at the least.  

 

The OS should have been designed properly from the beginning, but then it wasn't really designed for the devices it actually runs on anyway was it?  

post #8 of 109
Hmmmm I don't recall punching in the URL for androidinsider.com

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post #9 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

I don't see what's wrong with it.
 

Apple pushes out updates to increase the performance of their devices too.

 

What's the issue?

I remember quite a few people telling everyone how Android running on the latest hardware as "as smooth as an iPhone" when it was clearly not.  All the android phones I've used clearly had UI performance issues, some more than others but it was there nonetheless.  I haven't used the latest Samsung phones but it certainly makes sense why Android always touts the fastest hardware to do what the iPhone can do even better with less.

I'm not going to hold my breath on this. 

post #10 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I remember quite a few people telling everyone how Android running on the latest hardware as "as smooth as an iPhone" when it was clearly not.  All the android phones I've used clearly had UI performance issues, some more than others but it was there nonetheless.  I haven't used the latest Samsung phones but it certainly makes sense why Android always touts the fastest hardware to do what the iPhone can do even better with less.

I'm not going to hold my breath on this. 

Check out the initial hands on impressions of this tablet. It's pretty amazing

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post #11 of 109

Well done, Google. Welcome to 2007. 

post #12 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The OS should have been designed properly from the beginning, but then it wasn't really designed for the devices it actually runs on anyway was it?  

Difficult when you're reverse engineering software that does work.
post #13 of 109
Yep.

Goal for 2012 for one of the biggest I.T. company's on the face of the planet:

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post #14 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I remember quite a few people telling everyone how Android running on the latest hardware as "as smooth as an iPhone" when it was clearly not.  All the android phones I've used clearly had UI performance issues, some more than others but it was there nonetheless.  I haven't used the latest Samsung phones but it certainly makes sense why Android always touts the fastest hardware to do what the iPhone can do even better with less.

I'm not going to hold my breath on this. 

They showed a video comparison of ICS vs. JB and JB reacted noticeably faster on the animations following a finger tap. The entire animation was faster though not just the reaction time after the tap, which could be in response to the increased frame rate and not necessarily more efficient code. 

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post #15 of 109

That's funny. I could have sworn that previous versions of Android were already smooth and on par with iOS. Or at least that's what plenty of people have claimed in the past. Why would they need to fix the lag and responsiveness all of a sudden?

 

Could it be that those people who claimed that Android was laggy, buggy and unresponsive were right all along? Why yes, I do believe so. 

post #16 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I remember quite a few people telling everyone how Android running on the latest hardware as "as smooth as an iPhone" when it was clearly not.  All the android phones I've used clearly had UI performance issues, some more than others but it was there nonetheless.  I haven't used the latest Samsung phones but it certainly makes sense why Android always touts the fastest hardware to do what the iPhone can do even better with less.

I'm not going to hold my breath on this. 

I don't have any lag at all on my One X nor did I on my HTC Sensation. 

post #17 of 109

Butters?

 

386

post #18 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Well done, Google. Welcome to 2007. 

lol it's not like the iPhone has never had lag...even my iPhone 4 would lag sometimes let alone a earlier model.

post #19 of 109

"Project Butter" to correct the basics that should have been nailed from Day 1, and which Apple made it their business to perfect, and did it very early on. 

 

Bu then, that's what you get with a horizontal business model. I will NEVER, as long as humanly and technically possible, use an OS (unless I have no choice, at work, etc.) that isn't controlled (along with the hardware) from cradle to grave. 

post #20 of 109

So Google admits Android 4.0 and earlier are slower than iOS?
 

post #21 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaroony View Post

lol it's not like the iPhone has never had lag...even my iPhone 4 would lag sometimes let alone a earlier model.

 

Anecdotes are cool like that. You can throw out as many "for me" and "my friends" experiences as you want without them having to have any real basis market-wide. 

post #22 of 109

Hey AppleInsider, I come here for news about APPLE and iOS, NOT about Google and Android.

 

I guess it's time to find a new news source free of all the Android crap.

post #23 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

Anecdotes are cool like that. You can throw out as many "for me" and "my friends" experiences as you want without them having to have any real basis market-wide. 

Tell that to all the 3GS users after they updated to iOS5 lol.gif

post #24 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post


Apple would it call bug fix or a service release. Google want you to think it's a feature not to have lag, and so they call it "Project Butter" - a laughable euphemism.

 

It's funny because this is what's actually happening. They're spinning it like it's a grand innovation. 

 

But then, there is almost NO WAY that an OS that is whored out to every OEM and their dog can perform as well and as consistently as one that is controlled, along with the software, under one roof. Google was destined to face this problem. And you can bet that in terms of these basics, Android will *still* not be on the level of iOS when this "project" is over. 

 

OS optimization between horizontal and vertical business models is a mismatched fight to begin with. 

post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaroony View Post

Tell that to all the 3GS users after they updated to iOS5 lol.gif

 

It is nowhere in the same ballpark. The 3GS is a three year old device (that is *still* supported by Apple, by the way.)

 

iOS' "fragmentation" (if you can call it that) is Google's wet-dream. 

post #26 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

So Google admits Android 4.0 and earlier are slower than iOS?
 

 

Sure, just like Apple admitted Android had a better notifcation system for years.

post #27 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaroony View Post

lol it's not like the iPhone has never had lag…

My first gen lags with iOS 5 on it, but it's beautiful with 3.1.3.

And Android 1.6 (which is supposed to be pretty slim, isn't it? It's bereft of many of the features that Android users 'demand' be in their phones) on the same hardware (same device, actually) is utter crap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaroony View Post

Tell that to all the 3GS users after they updated to iOS5 lol.gif

Oh, you meant the three year old device that gets modern software? As opposed to the modern devices that don't even get three year old software, that is. Now, which ones were those… ah, Android devices. That's right.
post #28 of 109

One of the first devices to sport Jelly Bean will be Google's own Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet announced on Wednesday that hopes to nibble at the iPad's massive marketshare

 

You're right, all if will do is nibble, like a little baby rabbit on a mill9ion foot high tree

 

 


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post #29 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

My first gen lags with iOS 5 on it, but it's beautiful with 3.1.3.

 

Weird, because my iPhone 3G occassionally lagged with the original OS, but then became practically unusable (and I mean that without an ounce of hyperbole) with iOS 4.

post #30 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Hmmmm I don't recall punching in the URL for androidinsider.com

 

Hmm.   I don't recall enabling that option that let's any jerk off the street comment on Apple Insider.    And yet, here you are.

 

On a more serious note, do you really not think hearing about Apple's competition will help you appreciate Apple's products more?    Or would you prefer to just stick your fingers in your ears and shout la-la-la-la-la - I can't hear you!

post #31 of 109

I like this Google-IO-insider.com site. Great updates from the Google conference.

The site design and layout is crap though.

post #32 of 109

Hmmm, 

 

I wonder what features from Jelly Bean we will see Apple "Borrow" in iOS7. Just like Apple does with every android release. 

 

Multi-tasking, voice commands, pull down notification, sharing, attatching photos in e-mail without going to gallery, turn by turn navigation, etc. 

post #33 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

So Google admits Android 4.0 and earlier are slower than iOS?
 

Improving a product doesn't mean they're admitting it's slower than their competitors.

 

I don't see why there's so much hate over this. By doing this, they're making it super easy for OEMs to update from ICS to JB and are improving the overall experience and reducing perceived lag to the end user.

 

Props to Google for focusing on this again.

 

This will be like the bump from 2.1 to 2.2 with the JIT compiler.

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post #34 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

Hmmm, 

 

I wonder what features from Jelly Bean we will see Apple "Borrow" in iOS7. Just like Apple does with every android release. 

 

Multi-tasking, voice commands, pull down notification, sharing, attatching photos in e-mail without going to gallery, turn by turn navigation, etc. 

What?!

 

Apple totally invented the pull down notifications. That was new and totally innovative!

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post #35 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

It's funny because this is what's actually happening. They're spinning it like it's a grand innovation. 

 

But then, there is almost NO WAY that an OS that is whored out to every OEM and their dog can perform as well and as consistently as one that is controlled, along with the software, under one roof. Google was destined to face this problem. And you can bet that in terms of these basics, Android will *still* not be on the level of iOS when this "project" is over. 

 

OS optimization between horizontal and vertical business models is a mismatched fight to begin with. 

 

Whored out?    Climb down from the ledge.   You're getting dizzy.   MacOS X itself, is based on FreeBSD - an open source version of Unix/Linux.  And yet Apple has been able to make something quite nice out of it.   I won't assume that Google can't do the same.

post #36 of 109
I kinda expected the 3GS to lag when updating to iOS5. But who expects their newly released Tegra 3, quad core phone to lag? That's just sad.
post #37 of 109

I have used an original iPad and then tried the iPad 2. The iPad 2 had quicker response and a better feel. So why nag about Android getting an update that makes it better? It is probably true for many people that their older Android device was not up to iOS quality regarding lag time. All we can do is observe what comes out next month. Will it put Android screen response on par with iOS devices? We shall see.

 

For all of the people who claim that competition is good for all of us, embrace the improvements on both sides whether they are on your device or a different brand. I hope Android becomes awesome and Apple too.

 

I want all companies to keep trying to do better than their competitors, even if it means some companies go out of business (RIM). Each one that creates something great will have its time in the sun. Right now it is Apple. A decade ago it was Microsoft. Blackberry was at the top five years ago, Nokia too. Apple has what it takes now. If Google could find some type of congruency with all of its products and decide upon a clear path it would commit to, they could take over the lead even in the computer market. Just give them time.
 

post #38 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The product should be an ideal testbed for Butter as it uses an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core CPU and 12-core GPU chipset to power a high-resolution 1,280-by-800 pixel display. According to Google's own website, the system will allow for animations of up to 60 frames per second and can chew through edge-to-edge 720p video.

 

Um, 1280x800 sounds decidedly low res at this point? Chewing through edge-to-edge 720p is similarly unimpressive.

 

Come to think of it, why is a raw marketing blurb even posted here?

post #39 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by bighype View Post

Hey AppleInsider, I come here for news about APPLE and iOS, NOT about Google and Android.

 

I guess it's time to find a new news source free of all the Android crap.

Oh relax..... occasionally, it's fine, I think.

 

I have a good belly laugh reading many of the comments (and the pathetic -- and I am guessing paid -- fandroid attempts at rebuttals and comebacks).lol.gif

post #40 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I kinda expected the 3GS to lag when updating to iOS5. But who expects their newly released Tegra 3, quad core phone to lag? That's just sad.

My One X has a tegra 3 and I havent noticed any lag at all.

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