Android ‘L’ migrates to ART runtime, abandons Dalvik

Android L ArtAndroid L Art

As Google previews their next Android release (so far only referred to as ‘L’), we are beginning to learn more not only about a new design approach but also the new runtime that will offer performance beyond what we have seen before from the platform. Long relying on Dalvik as its backbone, Android L abandons the standard in order to migrate to ART, a cross-platform runtime that supports ARM, X86, and MIPS simultaneously.

The main difference between ART and Dalvik rests in how the runtimes handle the execution of applications. Dalvik used a JIT (just-in-time) compiler that only ran code as it was needed. ART relies on an AOT (ahead-of-time) compiler to process code in advance, resulting in a much smoother performance curve. ART has been in place since the launch of Android 4.4 as an option alongside Dalvik, but with this ‘L’ release it will become the standard.

Android L performance 1

ART is not only faster, but it also offers improvements in battery life thanks to more efficient processing. The best part is that the tun rime is immediately compatible with the existing Android ecosystem and its apps. Developers won’t need to do anything special to bring their apps and games in line with this latest runtime, but all will be able to benefit from the results.

Android L battery saver

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  • Tony Lai

    Any improvements in android is always a good news.

  • JustinQ

    Best thing in here was that there is no modification needed for current apps. As a mobile game designer this is fantastic news. Can’t wait to see how this improves performance on games.

    • Dylan

      It shouldn’t if I’m understanding things. Just how quickly it starts.

  • phinn

    Awesome news about ART, from its performance improvements to cross architecture compatibility. This is one of the best parts of Android L.

  • $104769043

    Can’t wait for some more details on L, like….when’s it coming out? Is it a replacement for Android like previous versions (meaning only a handful of devices will get it) or pushed out via Play Services (unlikely, but you never know)?

  • mcl630

    So will Dalvik be gone completely in ‘L’, or will ART just become the default with Dalvik still available as an option?

    “No modification needed for current apps…” so why do some apps (particularly games and root apps) not work in ART?

    • Christopher Nguyen

      Because its not stable. By the time L is released it will be stable for majority of the apps out there.