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Experimental Google ART runtime in Android KitKat can bring twice faster app executions

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Experimental Google ART runtime in Android KitKat can bring twice faster app executions
With Android KitKat Google is experimenting on a completely new runtime environment for apps called ART, short for Android Runtime, which is apparently the bee's knees. After a patent spat with Oracle on the Java-based Dalvik runtime that ensnares Android at the moment, Google is obviously determined to create a complete replacement, but that's not the whole story. 

ART actually comes as an option built right into Android 4.4 and speeds up the time that the operating system uses to read application code significantly. Preliminary tests show that app execution time, which is everything from launch and operation to occupying processor resources, is cut in half for most of them.

This enormous speed gain comes with caveats, such as larger apps hence longer installation times, but the ART experiment seems ripe to replace Dalvik in some of the next major Android versions. It replaces the just-in-time (JIT) real time compiling with ahead-of-time (AOT) one during the app installation, thus cutting down on app launch times a great deal, which is especially useful on devices with limited resources.

In fact, you can test drive ART right now, even if you aren't an Android developer - go to Settings>Developer options on your Nexus 5 and enable it, then reboot. It will take quite a lot of time until your apps get recompiled with the new runtime, and you probably won't notice any difference at this point, but peeping into the Android future might be worth it.

Experimental Google ART runtime in Android KitKat can bring twice faster app executions

source: Google via AndroidPolice 

17 Comments
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posted on 07 Nov 2013, 07:38 21

1. eisenbricher (Posts: 964; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


This is exciting news! More powerful hardware + lighter software means new kind of experiences on already the most versatile Android OS.

Go Android!

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 07:46 13

2. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 547; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)


Wohh amazing...... Android becoming more lighter and lighter. Hope OEM with their skins wont ruin it. Google definitely a great company that keep on improving their products.
I do remember reading an article saying "Android will never be as smooth as iOS or Windows phone"
now this and Google's effort making me think "Nothing is impossible"

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 15:51 1

16. Finalflash (Posts: 1136; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Calm down lol, it's got a cost of course. That cost is hard drive space, and lots of it. Currently the APK for an app is opened and only limited resources are extracted, those being the ones in need. The good thing about that was that it was space efficient because the APK is compressed fairly well but the downside was more processing to reopen the APK constantly. The new method will already extract everything and so the files will take more SD space. But then it saves the processor from having to work over time. I think Google will use a combination of both eventually depending on what the device is missing.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 16:37

17. timepilot84 (Posts: 44; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)


There is nothing about ART or AOT compiling that precludes compression.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 17:28

18. JordanB (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Nov 2013)


The size increase is almost negligible (10-20% estimated). Only actual code is being re-compiled which is the least amount of space on an actual apk for most applications. It is the resources like images, music and pre-3d renderings that use the most space which will stay as their original size.

After doing this to my nexus, I have seen a huge increase in application responsiveness with no noticeable effect to the space used (137 applications). I have heard of some people having issues with crashing applications, but have not yet experienced this myself.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 07:56 3

3. Zylam (Posts: 36; Member since: 20 Oct 2010)


WHEN the frak does 4.4 come to Nexus 4 and other Nexus devices?

WTF man does anything in the Android universe get updates on time?

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 08:07 6

4. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4601; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"WTF man does anything in the Android universe get updates on time?"

There is no specific date, so you can't say that this or another update was on time or not on time.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 08:07 2

6. NexusPhan (Posts: 320; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


When Apple announces their newest software it's usually a 3 month wait to get it. It's only been 1 week so far. It'll be here in another week or two. Have some patience dude.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 09:03 2

8. bucky (Posts: 1222; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


He means when apple releases it everyone gets it.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 09:28 5

10. tedkord (Posts: 3932; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


I doubt that's what he meant since he didn't mention Apple in any way.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 08:57

7. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Dude take the chill pill, it usually takes two weeks before we see the update arrive on out devices

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 09:09 2

9. xfire99 (Posts: 367; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)


How about go to Google and read RTFHelp page! If u dont know how Nexus devices works and then get another phone with another OS.
Peoples which understand what Nexus devices are for, are running KitKat and testing it out already.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 08:07 4

5. youdug (Posts: 21; Member since: 19 Jul 2013)


go to settings > about phone > press Build Number 7 times to access Developer Options.
might want to include that ^ seeing the Developer Options are hidden by default.

posted on 08 Nov 2013, 02:22

19. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 807; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


Was wondering how I could get to that. Thanks.

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 09:52 1

11. terabyteRouser (Posts: 407; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Single most hated phrase ever: "bee's knees".

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 10:51

12. robinlim85 (Posts: 85; Member since: 03 May 2013)


this surely get a geeks piss in their pants right aways,"oh wow, ART, do know you?"

posted on 07 Nov 2013, 14:08

15. livyatan (Posts: 560; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)


This makes me convinced that Android will eventually turn into the most polished and fastest mainstream OS on the planet.

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