Code commit indicates the end may be near for Android Dalvik

Code commit indicates the end may be near for Android Dalvik
In Android 4.4 KitKat, we got a bit of a preview of the next Android RunTime called ART (get it?) Google made it known that ART was planned to replace the current runtime, Dalvik; and, a new code commit to the Android Open Source Project makes it look like that switch could be coming very soon, as in the next version of Android.

The new code commit is pretty basic, but causes a big change: it switches the default runtime from Dalvik to ART. What that will mean in technical terms is that Android will switch from the Dalvik "just-in-time" compiler, where the app bytecode is compiled and run when you run the app, to the ART "ahead-of-time" compiler. This means that the app bytecode will be compiled when you install the app and only the pieces of the app you need will run, when you need it. In terms of what users will see, this means that apps will run faster and more efficiently, but they will also take up a bit more space on your device. 

Of course, this is just a change in the default for Android. Dalvik isn't necessarily disappearing, but that seems to be the most likely end scenario here. We still don't know when the next version of Android will hit, or whether it will be a full version bump (5.0) or another incremental bump (4.5).

source: AOSP via Android Police

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42 Comments

1. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

It does sound like a good idea/feature but when you say "take up abit more space.....device" does that mean ram or internal memory?

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Internal memory. Depending on the app, it can take anywhere from 5-50MB of extra space. That's why it's best to get a 32GB model of a phone.

22. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I think more and more manufacturers will set 32 Gb as the minimum RAM specification going forward. Whether that is due to higher RAM requirements of the OS, or competitive pressure, I suspect it is a little of both. But net-net, 8 Gb of RAM was so 2010. 16 Gb is probably on its last legs for flagship smartphones. 2015 should see more and more flagships sporting 32 Gb as the entry level specification.

24. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

Ummm.. I think you have RAM and internal memory confused..

25. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

ROM and RAM are two different things. ROM= storage as RAM is for.. well, you know.

35. JonBjSig

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

RAM is the memory, I'm pretty sure you're talking about storage.

36. domfonusr

Posts: 1087; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Also, using the symbol for Gigabits (Gb) rather than Gigabytes (GB)... that interpretation actually makes the numbers a little more believable, but I don't see any phones now with 4GB of RAM, so it still doesn't quite jive.

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Full 64-bit support please.

10. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Why ?

12. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

To utilize armv8 runtime.

15. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Once Android fully supports ARMv8 (A57 aka 64-bit), it will be unstoppable. I really want to see what Google does with Android in 2014.

23. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I think you will have to wait until 2015 for full 64-bit implementation in Android. Too much conversion overhead for a 2014 release.

26. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I'm pretty sure Google has something up it's sleeves. KitKat was pretty much a surprise, so I'm waiting for the next version of Android, especially if Qualcomm and Samsung already have 64-bit processors almost completed.

33. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

You can get ARMv8 without 64bit, the instruction set works for both but 64 bit is added to it unlike older versions. Moving forward all chips will likely be on v8 so 64 bit or not they can have the same advantages.

13. night_elf

Posts: 51; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

I bet its on the way, the Exynos 6 needs a new Android version!

3. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Running ART on a few Nexus here, all is good. One pay off of it, is that scrolling in apps like chrome even is smooth.

5. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

When I had ART enabled on my S3 back in November, everything was 50% faster, which is definitely worth the extra storage space.

11. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

How do you enable it, does this work on all android phones like HTC one/x

14. vincelongman

Posts: 5720; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

It's select runtime in developer options (You need Kitkat) Also somethings aren't compilable yet, e.g. xpose framework and nova.

16. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Your AT&T One X may never see the light of day on an official 4.4 update. What you can do is root it and flash CM11 (Android 4.4.2 KitKat) and enable ART. Unless you have a Nexus, Moto X or flagship phone, 4.4 shouldn't be in your calendar in the future.

18. tyger11

Posts: 292; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

CM doesn't do ART, does it? Unless that's coming in a future version...

20. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Post #5.

27. tedkord

Posts: 17408; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

CM doesn't support ART. You actually get a warning when you get to enable it that it could cause issues. ART worked for me on early versions of CM11 (though it did muck up a few apps). But on every version lately it just causes reboots and FCs.

29. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Never had a problem running ART on my old S3. It gave me a warning, yes, but never had a negative impact. Hell I'm running ART on my brand new Moto X (fu-----g love it BTW).

39. __0__

Posts: 242; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

How is it ? I want a moto X but it wasnt sold in my country , settled for a note 3 instead . Hated sh1twiz but running official kitkat here

40. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

It's just as fast as my Note 3 (still have it) but typing on the smaller screen is a little drawback. Battery life is slightly less than what I had with the Note 3 but the call quality is definitely better (Moto's radios are better). Speaker isn't as loud as I'd like, especially during phone calls, but it's still good. Overall, this phone is definitely worth the $300 I got it for.

31. TheOldOne

Posts: 196; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

ART is enabled in 4.4,so starting with CM11. If you have it, you can switch from Dalvik to ART from Developer Options->Runtime. The phone will restart and take a while to rebuild the cache, depending on how may apps you have it may take 20-30min (I have 150aps). I have not noticed a stellar performace improvment, and you need to note that not all of your apps will work afterwards as not all of them are ART compatible. If this happens, you need to revert back to Dalvik.

32. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

It took me 6 minutes lol.

42. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

It actually makes it available to devices that otherwise could have it, like the Nexus 7 in 2012. The 2013 stock ROM has the option available.

19. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Thx I know HTC one x ain't getting 4.4 but my HTC one will, also I have the nexus 7 2013 and 2012 both 4.4 yet the 2012 model doesn't show the runtime option, why is that?

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