Android 4.4’s new ART runtime could mean big things for little hardware

November 6, 2013

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Android 4.4 brings some very interesting improvements, and one of them is the new ART runtime environment. Currently, Android devices use Dalvik, which has been the go-to since inception. Bulky and dated, Dalvik was a major reason Android was unable to operate on lesser-than hardware. ART, however, is set to change all of that.

Dalvik uses what’s called JIT, or Just In Time, as the compiler. This basically compiles the app on your device each time you open it up. While this does allow for a variety of devices to run it, it’s bulky. In a nutshell, it works for the software, but not the hardware.

ART will take that compiling and do it ahead of time, which is why it replaces JIT with AOT (Ahead Of Time!). This will essentially turn the app into a native one, rather than create a virtual machine each time it’s opened. Doing so should (in theory) boot apps quicker, and run them a bit more efficiently.

What this means for users is really simple: speed. By allowing apps to boot faster and run more efficiently, the device can handle more intensive applications. We can also expect to see our mobile devices with more downtime, which should improve battery life. As hardware continues to outpace itself, the quad-core devices we now enjoy should start to perform a whole lot better, making an upgrade really poignant. Of course, should you not upgrade, your device could continue to run strong — perhaps even better than ever.

VIA: Android Police

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  • Timothy Kowalski

    Anyone else playing with this? Is it supposed to be “upgrading apps” every time? I know that’s when it used to be building the dalvik cache, unless I’m mistaken.

  • stucrmnx120fshwf

    Don’t really know, but I do know, that bloatware is death to a system and anything that allows the hardware to do its job, with less, say hardware, means that with more hardware, it does a better job in terms of reliability and speed. What we might call elegance, instead of software slop, that does a worse job than the simplest hardware, like when your desktop beast, runs blue rays, worse than your, $100 3D Blue Ray player.