RAM: What it is, how it’s used, and why you shouldn’t care

I’ve been playing with my new Samsung Galaxy P7500 tablet and I noticed that I was already critically short (my words) on RAM, despite having nothing of huge significance running. It seemed that the device was using about 80% of its available RAM just to run.

I was naturally concerned.

At times of natural concern, we all have someone to whom we turn. Lois Lane had Superman, Commissioner Gordon had Batman, I have The Guru. My initial attempts to raise him by projecting a giant Android symbol onto the moon failed due to intermittent cloud cover over the Southern Suburbs, so I sent him an email instead, asking whether I should perhaps employ some sort of task manager to manage my tasks.

His reply was enlightening:

No – it’s a bad idea, which in almost all cases slows your phone.
Windows people use them, but there are extensive treatises, including by Google engineers, explaining how Linux/Android uses memory, and how task managers screw up the OS’s attempts to do so efficiently.

The “not much RAM to spare” is exactly the Windows-thinking I am talking about. Unused RAM is wasted RAM for Android.
If you want to read more:


I was enlightened. Literally.

If you have an Android device, the article above makes very interesting reading and it is at a suitable level for you and I (ie. basic). The comments, less so on both counts, as geeks take each other on in who can use the most confusing terminology, much of which includes parentheses.

Suffice to say that The Guru has allayed my fears that I have purchased a dud device (which, I have to point out, never faltered in its service to me). I can now enjoy my tablet with a relaxed and untroubled mind.

Viva, The Guru. Viva!

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