The Pocket App Uses 125MB+ Without Being Force-Closed
Friday, August 31, 2012, Modified: Sunday, June 09, 2013 Refs
Did anyone else notice how this app can just keep on gobbling memory without being killed by the system? See the screenshot attached to this post. 124MB (down by 1MB in the time it took me to take the shot) and carrying on untroubled. If I scroll through my articles and click to scan a few, the memory usage quickly goes up to that level while other processes get dumped.

Notes on what I think is happening here

Standard Java/Dalvik Android apps are limited to some small amount of managed heap space before being force-killed. This has crept up over time, 16MB, 24MB, 32MB but is way short of those sorts of numbers. What I have noticed is that apps which use web views can eat up loads of memory, crashing through those limits. Presumably, that memory is being allocated by native C/C++ components of the webviews (e.g., the Webkit guts of the views) out of sight of the Dalvik VM with its low memory budget per process. On an Android 2.x generation device, one app can therefore easily use up the majority of of RAM, leading to force-kills of background apps that the user may want to switch to shortly. This issue also affects cross-platform app solutions which might run in Javascript using webviews, or have to load in their own extensive runtimes (nodding towards Mono here) that all eat up native heap in the same way.

These factors make make me doubt the use of webviews and cross-platform solutions for apps which have transient user actions and tight system integrations such as responding to share menus where they should pop into the foreground quickly and then get out of the way again. When they are out of the way, they shouldn't have displaced a bunch of other apps because of a large memory footprint and thus slow down the switch to them as they are restarted from cold.

Check out the app here: http://getpocket.com/



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