Somehow, this all sounds so familiar. Where have I heard this before? Gosh I can't seem to recall.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes: "In multitasking, if you see a task manager... they blew it. Users shouldn't ever have to think about it." Said when showing the new iPhone app switching UI that makes process management more visible than the corresponding one in Android.

This certainly is a tricky UI issue though -- you really don't want to make visible to the user the underlying management of processes and stuff that they normally don't need to care about. That is "normally" though... at the end of the day, nothing is perfect, there will always be misbehaving apps that you need to allow the user to deal with (because ultimately the difference between behaving and misbehaving is a big gray area of different perspectives), so providing a UI for this is probably something good to have for the users who want to go into it.

For Android our approach so far has been to keep the multitasking/app switching UI (which is a core part of the user experience) strongly separated from the process management UI (down in "Manage Applications" in Settings). This seems to me like a reasonable approach: for most users they really shouldn't have to care about process management, and having that visible in the normal UI is just going to cause misunderstanding.

Then we have people write task managers, and sales people at carrier stores installing task managers onto devices as they sell them, and word of mouth spreads that these things makes your device run faster, and they get to the top of the Market stats, and here we are. :)

(True story: when we got my wife her original Droid at a Verizon store, the salesperson went into a song and dance about how you need to manage the running apps on it to make it run well, and went to go find one on Market and install it. I watched in shock as this was going on, until reaching the point of going to install the app where I stepped in and said no you are not going to do that, and you should not be telling people to do this.)
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