All Android devices could be getting a noticeable performance boost later this year. We have seen companies like Myriad pushing their Dalvik Turbo compiler which they claim offers “3x faster applications, richer game graphics and better battery life to Android”.
Myriad is working with carriers and handset makers to incorporate their software into their Android builds, but it looks Google might beat them to it.
Google has assembled their own team of engineers that is working on a Dalvik JIT Compiler for Android. JITstands for “just in time” compilation, and allows software to run faster by “compiling bytecode into native machine code at runtime which substantially increases performance”. I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert on JIT, so I’ll defer to Wikipedia if you want the full scoop.
As some of you already know, JIT is in the Android repository and working right now. I’ve loaded the latest kernel that supports (correction: JIT has nothing to do with the kernel version, but some custom roms include both) it on my Nexus One and saw my benchmark scores go up 250-300%. It was cool to play with, but it was major unstable and the phone would reboot after several hours of use.
It looks like Google’s team might be close to releasing a stable version of the Dalvik JIT compiler. Two of them, Ben Cheng and Bill Buzbee, will be outlining their work at Google I/O in a session called “A JIT Compiler for Android’s Dalvik VM“.
In the session they will outline the design of a JIT Compiler designed for embedded Android devices. Topics of the session will include “an architectural overview, the rationale for design decisions and the special support for JIT verification, testing and tuning”.
Hopefully we will see a stable JIT compiler released sometime around May (or at least available via XDA).
Additional speaker info from Google I/O:
- Ben Cheng: Ben is a software engineer in the Android team working on Dalvik. His primary project is to develop a JIT compiler that improves the efficiency of the VM. He also spends time developing tools for performance tuning and code verification. Before Google, Ben worked at various companies on virtual machines, including Transmeta, Azul, and PeakStream. Ben got a PhD degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Bill Buzbee: Bill is a software engineer on Google’s Android team, where he works on the Dalvik JIT Compiler. Prior to Google, Bill worked on dynamic compilation at Hewlett-Packard and Transmeta.
[Image credit IBM Systems Mag]