Introduction to Android and our testing approach
Android is an incredibly diverse ecosystem, which brings many benefits such as a huge number of devices to choose from, at a wide variety of price points. However, this diversity brings challenges to app creators such as ourselves.
Supporting thousands of different Android devices running various versions of Android, which may or may not have been built upon or modified by the various phone manufacturers, can be a real struggle.
In addition to this, rigorously ski testing each app version we release on-mountain, on thousands of different mobile devices, requires a significant amount of resource.
When it comes to testing releases, we take a pragmatic approach and choose a small subset of devices which we think represent the devices our customers are using or will be using in the future. This pool of devices contains devices at all price points, from flagship to low end budget devices.
During our extensive testing, we discovered a fairly major issue with low end Android devices which is the topic of this article.
Low-end Android Devices
You may or may not have noticed this statement displayed on our website regarding low-end Android devices:
This notice exists due to the discovery that some low-end Android devices can't handle the incoming data from the Carv sensors quick enough to process it in real-time.
This is an issue because it affects Carv's ability to detect turns, and give feedback in real-time in modes such as drills or monitors.
How do I tell if my phone has this issue?
There are a few ways by which issues may become apparent:
Your runs aren't always detected. This may be intermittent, or a recurring problem.
When viewing your live insert motion in the sensor setup screens, the inserts motion lags behind what the insert is doing in real life.
You may hear 'Warning, bad connection to trackers' whilst recording a session.
If you are experiencing issue 2 or 3 then your device definitely has this issue, however issue number 1 may have other causes.
Why does this happen?
In summary, cheaper low-end Android devices are manufactured using lower quality or lower specification components compared to flagship devices. For example; flagship devices have faster CPUs than lower end phones.
This affects Carv because our requirement for data transmission is quite high compared to other sports apps in the same category. We send a lot of data from the Carv sensors to your phone via Bluetooth.
For context, we send force and motion data 20 times per second (20hz) from each foot. That's 40 'packets' of information being sent every second over Bluetooth.
Some low-end phones simply can't handle that because there is a 'bottle neck' somewhere in their hardware that means the data can't flow through quick enough. This may be because of the phone's CPU, memory, or even the bluetooth chip.
I have an affected device, what can be done?
The first thing to check is whether you use any other bluetooth devices with Carv. If you're using wireless bluetooth earphones, these will be using some of that bluetooth capacity, and if bluetooth is your 'bottle neck' this could be contributing to the problem.
Try using wired headphones instead. This will reduce the amount of data being transmitted via bluetooth and may reduce it enough for your phone to handle 20hz again.
Officially, we don't support devices which can't handle a 20hz data transmission rate. The main fix is to buy a new, faster device however we understand that this may not be possible for everyone and that you may wish to use your existing device on a ski trip. So... there is one thing we can do to help:
Lower your data transmission rate
As previously mentioned, by default the app sends data at 20hz (20 times per second). If required, we can lower this transmission rate for certain customers who report this issue, but there is a catch.
What's the catch?
Sadly, we cannot guarantee data accuracy or comparability when we lower your data rate. This means that the SkiIQ you receive with a lower data rate may differ from the SkiIQ you get at 20hz.
I'm ok with the catch - sign me up!
If you own an Android device and would like to lower your data rate so that you can successfully use your device with Carv, please get in touch with our customer support team via the button below, who will gladly arrange this for you.
Likewise if you have any further questions regarding data transmission on Android devices, please do not hesitate to reach out.