Feb 17 AT 8:08 PM Taylor Wimberly 23 Comments

JIT compiler coming to Android sooner than you think?

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]

Source: Google I/O

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Weeds

    Thanks, this sounds far better then the Myriad solution.

    • http://Website Jack

      Agreed. :)

  • http://Website Usman

    I’m not very knowledgeable about JIT and Dalvik… but how is this superior to Myriad’s solution? They claim a 2-3x improvement, which is in line with the author’s experience using JIT… feel free to post more information so I can understand. :)

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I don’t know if it is superior, but we assume Google’s version will be free to all users where Myriad is working with handset makers to cook it in their builds.

  • http://www.typhon4android.org Mike Leahy

    This is very good news! JIT is essential to CPU side performance and I’m glad Google has a team on it. It will indeed breathe new life into all devices and is so darn crucial for advanced game tech on the Java side, IE physics and AI sim, that happens on the CPU. I’ll have some metrics soon with Typhons integration of JBullet physics engine (Java port of Bullet Physics). I don’t expect results to be astounding until the release of Dalvik JIT solution. Dalvik JIT will majorly improve physics sim on Android.

  • http://Website Tom Servo

    A JIT is essential to battery life, too. Discrete jobs are executed faster, in less instructions (an interpreter carries a lot of overhead, since it pretends executes the bytecode) allowing the CPU to go back to idle/sleep sooner and more often.

  • http://Website Alex Ekwuaju

    That sucks after all their hard work google might beat them to it

  • http://Website Laurie

    yeah for Google, they seem to keep coming to the rescue; “Hold on, Help is on the waaaaay”! I’m so pleased with the Nexus 1, after all those wanna-bee’s from other manufacturers, (can you say yuck yuck! spit, pe-ueeey!) anyway, now that i finally broke down and just went for the real thing, i’m so happy. it’s like my old friend is back – a reborn G1.

  • http://Website k0ng

    which rom have enabled JIT? CM5?

  • http://Website bray424

    Once word got out that Myriad was going to attempt to sell their technology to carriers in order for that carrier to have the fastest Android implementation, this move seemed inevitable. The idea that someone could take something of Google’s, improve it, and make money off it seems completely against the Google philosophy.

    • http://Website bray424

      on the other hand, as a proud owner of a Sprint Hero, if a stable version is released in May, I can hope to see it on my phone as soon as November!

      • http://Website SquirrelWithAGunAtTheZoo

        Well with a little luck HTC will push this as part of the 2.2 Sense update that will probably be following the Froyo release.

  • http://Website anindya

    This is good news more competition, means better stuff in the long run. When I see news like this it seems to me that google is more on the side of use open source people than Myriad is. But in either case it is good for the android platform. I love android platform. I worked with Symbian before android. And Symbian is a joke. Maybe because Symbian comes from the electronics world. so its geeky, even their api is geeky. and cant do half the things that android api allows. I really hope android does well in the marketplace. if it does not it will break my heart.

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