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ART replaces Dalvik in next Android update: ''Dalvik is dead''

The Google I/O kicks off next week, and we’ve already started talking about what to expect in our Google I/O predictions. Now thanks to a new AOSP (Android Open Source Project) commit, we now know that Dalvik is going to be officially replaced by ART runtime, and the latter will be set as a default with the next version of Android, whether Android 4.5 or 5.0.

androidpit art dalvik
Dalvik is dead! ART is the new way for Android smartphones! / © AndroidPIT

What is ART and what is Dalvik? Dalvik is the old runtime for your Android device, while ART is the newer, faster more high performing one of the two, but as of yet, isn’t supported by all apps. Dalvik is a ''just-in-time'' runtime which executes code only if it is necessary. On the other hand, ART is ''ahead-of-time,'' where codes are executed before the need presents itself (pre-compiled once on install). Now, the news is that ART will replace Dalvik as the standard with the new Android update, having found out about this in code commits 98553 and 98615, and this is the first time we’ve heard anything definite about the move in this new direction. Google didn’t make it too subtle either, when they declared: ''Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik!'' To fix the issues of ART not being supported by most Android apps, they are going to make it so that ART is going to be backwards compatible. This will ensure that developers won't have to rework their apps.

androidpit dalvik art
Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik! (Line 10) / © AndroidPIT

The question is when will this new update happen? Our bet is that it will happen during the Google I/O (or at least we hope). And if it does, will it fix the amount of bugs brought by Android 4.4.3, like we’ve seen on Nexus devices?


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  • Angus P. Jun 20, 2014 Link to comment

    If you are using Cyanogenmod, you are able to switch to ART in the dev settings...
    it may be experimemtal, but i have a good performance difference running CM11 M7

  • I want to try ART but knowing that it is still experimental and the final version will come in 4.5/5 and that Im running CyanogenMod 11 on my S4, Im not sure if I should even give it a try =/

    • @Paco, you can just try it out for a while and then switch back. Go to Settings > About Phone and tap Build Number until you see Developer Options pop up, then just switch your runtime to ART.

  • 16

    Unfortunately I'll have to continue using Dalvik because it's very, very slow to run an app when the debugger is attached to it if you're using ART. Since I use my personal phone to develop the AndroidPIT app, I can't change to ART yet.

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