Google has yet to release its next-gen Android OS version, but it looks like one major feature of the new operating system has been confirmed. Xda-developers has discovered that commits made to the AOSP master branch on Wednesday night show that Dalvik will be replaced with ART as default. None of that will make sense to many readers, but more experienced Android fans already know what Dalvik and ART are, and why it’s good news that Android will replace the former with the latter.
Dalvik and ART are the old and new runtimes that execute app instructions inside Android. While Dalvik is a Just-in-Time (JIT) runtime that executes code only when it’s needed, ART – which was introduced in Android 4.4 KitKat and is already available to users – is an Ahead-of-Time (AOT) runtime that executes code before it’s actually needed.
Comparisons between Dalvik and ART on Android 4.4 have shown that the latter brings enhanced performance and battery efficiency, although ART wasn’t ready for prime time when KitKat was launched, so Google choose to make it available as an alternative to developers interested in trying it out. However, it appears that Google has further worked on the code, and will make it available as the default runtime to devices running a future version of Android.
Google is expected to unveil more details about its upcoming Android OS in the near future, quite possibly at I/O 2014 next week.