The confusion over the Sense 4 multitasking methods is about to come to an end, albeit in a way that many of you aren't going to like. While we were pretty confident that our investigation into the matter gave us the answers, we reached out to HTC about the issue, and it has responded with the following.
"HTC is aware of some questions in the enthusiast community about how the HTC One X handles multitasking and memory management for background apps. We value the community's input and are always looking for ways to enhance customers' experience with our devices. That said, right now multitasking is operating normally according to our custom memory management specifications which balance core ICS features with a consistent HTC Sense experience."
So there you have it. HTC has taken open-source Android, and customized it to its liking. We're not surprised, nor should you be. HTC places more emphasis on the front-end user experience, at the expense of background tasks, and has modified the source code to better suit its software. This is how open-source operates, and HTC should deliver what it feels is best for their customers.
I think the real issue here is users' expectations. Sense 4 is as far from stock Android as iOS is from BSD. The core code was made available, and HTC has spent three years refining it, adding to it, and making it its own. From the user standpoint, only the very nerdly few are going to be up-in-arms about HTC's changes, and all of us knew ahead of time that HTC's phones would be running HTC's software. Our option is to purchase what suits us the best.
I've been using Sense 4 on the HTC One S for a bit now, and I think HTC has done a bang-up job with it. It's certainly not stock Android, and there are a few things I miss from vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich, but as mentioned, I knew that going in.
We often say Android gives everyone a choice -- let's not get out our pitchforks and write those petitions to try to take one away.