At Android’s core is the Dalvik runtime environment. Google has done a great job optimizing it to run really well on modern hardware, but sometimes there is only so much you can do with an old system. The time comes when you have to throw out the old and replace it with new, even if it won’t be compatible with everything before it.
It looks like Dalvik’s time is running out in the Android world, as Google is already experimenting with a system that has proven to be faster. The new system is called ART, and it’s actually included in KitKat in an experimental form. Instead of being interpreted by Just-In-Time compiler at every start, ART will force apps to be fully compiled and run natively. According to tests, apps could start up to twice as fast. That kind of speed simply from optimizing the runtime engine is invaluable. The tradeoff is that apps will be bigger and take a bit longer to install.
We can’t wait to see what can be done with ART, and when it becomes truly usable for the consumer, what it will do to the app market. Will all apps have to be redone for the new system? Will Google come up with a clever porting system? We’ll see, but those speed increases sound awfully nice to us. What do you think of ART? Will the speed increases be worth uprooting the Play Store, or should Google just keep polishing the old system? Leave a comment!