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Apr 17, 2012

Microsoft to Enable Windows Phone Apps Launch Faster

For some Windows Phone users, applications loaded on their devices might seem very sluggish, making the phone itself appear slow and unappealing.

If the latest technology that Microsoft Research is looking into will arrive on devices, this problem could easily be solved in users' advantage. 

In fact, apps and games on Windows Phone could soon become the fastest loading software on a mobile operating system. 

This technology will keep applications pre-loaded in the background, and will make them instantly accessible when people need to use them. 

Dubbed Falcon: Fast App Launching with Context, the new pre-loading system can be seen at work in the video embedded at the bottom of this article.

“We have identified ways in which context can benefit key OS services such as memory management, scheduling, I/O and security. As a first step, we have built a prototype of Falcon: Fast App Launching with Context,” Microsoft Research explains.

“As mobile apps become more deeply integrated into our everyday lives, mobile app interactions ought to be rapid and responsive.”

They explain that the prototype is meant to address the problem of sluggish applications running on Windows Phone devices. 

“Falcon uses context such as user location and temporal access patterns to predict app launches before they occur. Falcon then provides apps systems support for effective app-specific pre-launching, which can dramatically reduce perceived delay,” Microsoft Research continues. 

Falcon is being designed as an OS modification of Windows Phone, and arrives as part of Context Data OS, or ConDOS.

“We use novel features derived through extensive data analysis, and a novel cost-benefit learning algorithm that has strong predictive performance and low runtime overhead,” Microsoft notes.

“Analysis shows that the user can save up to 35 seconds on a single app launch, resulting in significantly improved user experience.”

What would be interesting to see is whether the feature would make it inside lower-end Windows Phone devices as well. Having apps pre-loaded in the background might eat up RAM, which is very limited inside these handsets.

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