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Introducing FALCON: Fast App Launching with Context from Microsoft Research

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Apps on Windows Phone boot up fairly quickly and the user only has but a few seconds to wait for the software to fully load, but what if the operating system itself could predict what app(s) you're likely to run that exact second? Cue FALCON, a project undertaken by Microsoft Research. The "Fast App Launching with Context" allows the faster execution of apps by preloading the software in memory (multitasking stack).

One of the researchers, Tingxin Yan, describes FALCON as:

A context-aware mobile app preloading component for mobile OS. Based on intensive data analysis of app usage across multiple mobile users, FALCON presents a decision engine which exploits temporal and spacial characters of user behavior to pre-load apps ahead of time, thereby improves the responsiveness of smartphones.

How FALCON would achieve this is by anticipating what apps the user is likely to launch using algorithms, and is part of a larger project called "Context Data OS (ConDOS)". Microsoft Research aims to improve the mobile experience with ConDOS by integrating context into the platform OS.

The team is set to present their research at the MobiSys 2012 conference this year. It'll be interesting to see such functionality built into Windows Phone to further improve responsiveness beyond competitor platforms.

Via: iStartedSomething

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Reader comments

Introducing FALCON: Fast App Launching with Context from Microsoft Research

20 Comments

Interesting, though a little hair-raising. Microsoft is going to have to be VERY transparent about usage data collection and storage.

Good to see continued investment in the platform.

What they should do is allow you to resume an app that is already open when you launch the app from the start screen. If the app is loaded in memory, why restart it?

If you're dumb enough to re tap it from the start screen instead of the task switcher then you deserve for it to start all over.

Haha but it would only make sense to allow the app to resume if it is already open when tapping on the start screen. I resume apps from the task switcher but it wouldn't hurt to resume the app from the start screen as well.

In fact I'd argue against you there, in terms of a simple intuitive UX, not all users will even know about long pressing the back button for multitasking. Launching the app from start should absolutely resume third party apps (but not messenger etc when you think about how they can be used with multiple chats etc)

Apps are never 'stored' in memory when they are closed anyway, the state is saved, and the program erased from memory. It's up to the programmer to design the application based upon a home button press, or a back button press etc.

Sometimes it's faster to restart the app than to press the back button multiple times. Also, the option to restart the app is needed in case it crashes ect.

God I hope not, I remember having to disable superfetch in the Vista days to retain any kind of battery life on my laptop...

I can imagine not only applications loading faster but also better power saving if used together with the builted-in features of the phone.