The writing for the Dalvik runtime (the runtime that handles the real-time decompilation of all Android apps) has been on the wall for quite a bit now. Hints that ART — which is said to be a lot more efficient than Dalvik — would soon be replacing Dalvik as the standard runtime have been dropped in code commits and comments ever since Google introduced the new development a while back.
But this is the first time they’ve made a clear declaration that the first iteration of ART is ready for primetime. Code commits 98553 and 98618 mention the change, and in typical Google fashion they inserted some harmless comments to drive the point home:
Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik!
So what does this mean from here on out? We’re not sure. ART received a lot of criticism throughout its preview period due to compatibility issues with certain apps. The fixes to make apps compatible were relatively easy, however Google has made it a point to make ART backwards compatible instead of forcing developers to make changes.
The road through the ART preview was bumpy, but things could very well change once Google officially marks a stable release (which we imagine would be in the next major version of Android, whenever that’s due).
Even with an official release there will probably be some hurdles to jump, however if Google is confident enough to make such a big change to their world-leading mobile operating system then we should give them the benefit of doubt. Let’s hope we hear something more at Google I/O.