Your Huawei Phone Will Never Feel Older Than the Day You Got It
Learn What It Means to Be Born Fast, and Stay Fast
Promotional Feature by Huawei
Many of us have friends and relatives that have experienced phone slow down, even after just a few months of buying a brand new one. Unfortunately, in many cases they’re not making it up – your phone does slow down because of the increasing demands of the operating system under the surface, or because its storage is packed like a can of sardines.
Huawei has put countless hours into trying to make sure phones like the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus don’t slow down like this – even after a year with countless photos taken and one too many apps downloaded.
It is part of a grand engineering project called Stay Fast, which involves digging right to the core of a phone and optimising its performance for the long haul.
What causes a phone to slow down?
The first step in Stay Fast was to find out exactly what causes a phone to slow down over months of use. Some of these causes won’t be a surprise to tech veterans out there.
First, as a phone’s storage gets filled up, with apps, photos, music and other files, searching through its memory banks becomes slower. There’s simply more to sift through: thousands and thousands of files.
Its storage also becomes fragmented as these files are added to and removed from the phone. This is where parts of files end up scattered throughout the memory, like bits of a chapter written in different parts of a book.
As phones use solid state storage without moving parts, the slow-down effect of fragmentation is nowhere near as bad as in an old hard drive. But when we notice a fraction of a second delay in a phone, every little hint of lag matters.
App load is often the biggest factor in the slow-down of a phone, though. Install more apps and there’s more chance several of them will be trying to perform background tasks at any point in time. This can seriously affect performance and battery life, if you don’t remember to turn those apps off.
Diagnosing the problem
To get to the bottom of how much these affect a phone after months of use, Huawei’s engineers created a simulated ‘well-loved’ phone. They installed many files of different sizes and used clever algorithms to recreate what happens inside a phone’s memory as it’s used over an extended period.
Huawei then used a robotic arm to compare the operation of the phone with a fresh one. With this and the help of a high-speed camera, Huawei’s engineers could see to the millisecond how day-to-day actions are affected by months of normal use.
For example, one of the tests involved getting the robot arm to tap the Gallery icon, and then measure the time taken for the picture history to appear. This is one action that can end up feeling slow on many devices.
These experiments gave Huawei a remarkably detailed picture of how a phone’s performance might degrade. And, as in medicine, understanding the disease is a big part of finding the right treatment.
Performance: a juggling act
Whenever your phone is switched on there’s a complicated juggling act taking place in the background. Access to the RAM, the solid state storage and the CPU all has to be carefully managed. Intelligent management of these resources is what keeps a phone fast.
For example, Huawei’s Stay Fast restricts background app processes if the app you’re actively using starts to demand more of the available CPU bandwidth. This is because you’re not going to notice a slight delay in an ‘invisible’ background process, but you will notice fractional lag in something on-screen. One classic example of a background process is the Facebook app checking for updates.
Android phones also need careful management of the data that is kept in system, RAM. Think of the phone as a chef: RAM is a bit like their hands, while phone storage is more like the kitchen cupboards.
This is particularly important when an app is loaded, because that’s like, you guessed it, the chef starting a dish. Huawei Stay Fast uses an intelligent algorithm that makes sure there’s always enough RAM ready.
Machine learning: Predicting the future
Stay Fast isn’t just about looking at how to best deal with a phone packed with one too many apps. It also predicts the future, using machine learning.
The Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus will monitor your behaviour to identify which apps you run most often, and use this to judge when to set resources aside. It can learn the demands of different apps and predict what’s coming next, which is critical if you’re going to run multiple apps side-by-side and skip between them. Which apps are heavy on the CPU or graphics chipset? Which ones are going to make frequent Wi-Fi or Bluetooth calls?
Huawei has a head start on the management of hardware resources over the competition because it makes the HiSilicon Kirin processors that go into its phones too. Most phones use third-party processors from companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek, where Huawei has control right from the processor cores to the very top layer of the Huawei P10‘s interface.
After hearing Huawei’s claims on the Stay Fast concept, Connect, an independent test lab, decided to perform their own analysis. The lab designed a series of 10 everyday performance tests to see how effective Huawei’s Stay Fast performance management really is.
The average response time only dropped from 0.64 to 0.69 seconds when moving from a new Huawei device to the aged phone with Stay Fast. The performance dropped slightly by 10.6 to 12.4 percent, but this is clever engineering, not magic. What this does show, though, is there is virtually no perceptible difference to the user between a new and “well-loved” device.
Huawei is already proving this point with the Huawei P9, which is also a Stay Fast phone. Without the special Stay Fast algorithms, the phone slowed down by 60 percent when loaded-up with apps. That slow-down reduced to just 17.4 percent with Stay Fast in action.
Huawei is only getting better at keeping its phones feeling fast.