Soft reboot would essentially kill all running processes and restart the essential services. Anything at the OS layer or below, namely bootloader, kernel and init would not be restarted. So you're rebooting your phone without touching the OS/bootloader, and all within just a matter of seconds.
Here's what you do to cause a soft reboot:
That's it. Zygote is an android service that initializes Dalvik and rest of the system. By killing it, you basically kill all apps registered with zygote and restarts essential services including zygote. (At least that's how I understand it haha).pkill zygote
If you've been reading my blog, you probably know all about crond on android. You could potentially use crond to schedule a soft reboot once a week. Your crontab file may look something like this:
# drop kernel caches at 3AM every morning0 3 * * * sync; echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches# soft reboot system at 2AM monday morning0 2 * * 1 pkill zygote
There's one slight problem with this method. This soft reboot is more or less based on my theory and I have no idea what the long term effect would be if you continue to use this method. Use it at your own risk! :)