Ever since Android phones debuted in 2008, people have talked about the touchscreen lag that seems inherent in Google’s mobile OS. Having tested dozens of Android phones and used Android for my personal use daily, I’ve seen the lag time and again. I’m actually used to it, else I wouldn’t be using Android every day. But how bad is it? In particular, does the latest Android flagship phone — Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus — offer a laggy experience.
The answer is yes; although I feel that the lag has been diminished a little. See for yourself in this video, where I enable the “show touch” developer option on my Galaxy Nexus.
The topic of Android lag crossed my radar back in December when Andrew Munn wrote a lengthy article explaining why the lag exists. Some of his technical reasons were debunked by Dianne Hackborn who works for Google as an Android Framework Engineer. Explanations aside, the issue does exist.
What might fix the problem in the future? I don’t know for sure, but I saw a promising demo at CES last week. During Nvidia’s press event, the company showed off its DirectTouch technology. This approach removes the touchscreen controller from a device and offloads the touch interpretation to a CPU core. There’s still lag, but it appears to be lessened even further as you can see here in the video demo.