Task Panel Review
We review Task Panel, an app management tool which helps you take control of your phone's RAM requirements
Verdict: Task Panel puts you in control of your phone's memory and can help boost the performance of your Android handset, but it's not for novices
Pros: Helps increase peformance quickly and easily, good range of options, home-screen widget is handy
Cons: Requires a lot of work before it's running properly and isn't the kind of app Android newbies will be able to use right away
More Info: Official site
Despite the fact that the more recent Android handsets - such as Motorola’s Droid and Google’s Nexus One – feature a fairly large slab of internal RAM to keep applications running as smoothly as possible, there’s still a need for a decent task management system. Granted, Google has seen fit to include one with more recent editions of its mobile operating system but unfortunately it’s buried away within the menu structure and doesn’t really present a quick and easy way of freeing up memory.
Task Panel is arguably one of the best app managers currently available for Android. It’s very similar to other programs such as Advanced Task Killer; it presents you with a list of all the apps which are currently running and how much of your precious RAM they’re consuming.
You see, Android’s multi-tasking capabilities are sometimes a double-edged sword. While it’s great that you can open several different apps at once, some of those apps continue to run even after you’ve exited out of them. With Task Panel, you “kill” the programs which you don’t require to make your handset run that little bit smoother.
As well as being able to stop individual programs Task Panel also offers the opportunity to kill all currently running apps in one press. This is handy if you need some extra memory quickly, but it can also mean that you accidentally disable a program that you actually want to keep running.
To avoid such conflicts you can add certain apps to your “ignore” list. Once assigned to this list, the respective apps will vanish from your currently-active menu but they’ll continue to run and soak up RAM, so be sure not to add anything that is too much of a hog.
Task Panel can be pinned to your notifications bar or dropped onto one of your home screens for quick access. The home screen widget is especially handy as it auto-refreshes to tell you how much spare memory you have at any given time, and even features a one-touch “kill” command which allows you to put a stop to all running programs without even having to open up Task Panel.
There’s very little wrong with this app, although it should be noted that it isn’t something you should use lightly. Some phones – such as the HTC Hero or Motorola DEXT – have dedicated software running in the background which is essential to their functionality.
If you don’t know what you’re doing you could end up “killing” these processes by mistake, which will send your phone into a force-close hissy-fit. As a result it certainly makes sense to sit down with the app for a few minutes before you start adding things to your “kill” and “ignore” lists.
As Android phones are granted more memory and get faster processors being in control of your RAM is going to become less of an issue, but if you own a first-gen model then Task Panel is a truly essential download.