BREAKING: New Runtime Compiler in Android 4.4 to Possibly Bring Better Performance in Future Releases
Android 4.4 KitKat ushers in several new and exciting features, many of which we talked about last night. One new and unexpected feature addition, however, appears to be a different real time compiler engine. In addition to Dalvik, references to ART have appeared under Android’s Developer Options menu. Not too long ago, Google purchased the French company Flexycore. While Flexycore has nothing to do with ART, the purchase and ART compiler show Google’s renewed focus on improving device performance.
As can be seen in the screenshot to your right, there is now a menu allowing you to choose between Dalvik and ART within Developer options. Switching from Dalvik to ART switches from the libdvm.so library to libart.so. And rather than the ODEX files read by the Dalvik VM, ART appears to use OAT files. Accordingly, Android 4.4 source also includes a dex2oat program to convert ODEX files into OAT files compatible with ART.
It is important to keep in mind that this is currently “hidden,” as it breaks the emulator. However, it has far reaching potential in that it can compile Android apps into more native code than what’s currently available through Android’s JIT.
Exciting times, folks. Looks like Android 4.4 will have plenty of new features that are just waiting to be uncovered.
Update: More information on ART can now be found on the Android Source Code Documentation Website.
[Many thanks to XDA Forum Member atomicrat2552 for the tip and to Developer Admin Pulser_G2 and Elite Recognized Developer Xplodwild for the additional research!]
Want something on the XDA Portal? Send us a tip!
Android M preview images are available. That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week's news is the announcement of Google's Project Tango going on sale and be sure to check out the article talking about Google's Roboto font going open source. That's not all that's covered in today's video! Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA TV. XDA TV Producer TK...
In the spirit of improving the core Android experience, Google is changing Android M to be smarter about managing power. Their new Doze feature comprises of two primary roles which allow Android to use motion detection in order to predict activity, and go into deep sleep at the right time based on accelerometer readings. In order to extend your screen off battery life, Android M will now monitor your activity levels and if it detects that your device has...
At I/O 2015, Google tackled the information problem in mobile once more, this time through pictures: “how incredible is it that we all have a camera in our pockets at any moment? (...) These moments tell your story (...)[but] taking more pictures and videos makes it harder to relieve memories due to the sheer volume”. This is why they are revamping Google Photos and centering it around 3 big ideas: Creating a home for all photos and videos that is...