When Google announced the release of Kit Kat, one of the big-ticket items intended to improve performance across all devices was the introduction of a new runtime environment, known as ART. It was obvious that ART would eventually replace the aging Dalvik VM that is currently used on the majority of Android devices. ART is still experimental, and a great number of developers have yet to get behind it, meaning that if you switch your phone over to use the ART runtime, some apps will simply not work (*cough* Angry Birds Epic).
It appears though, that the day of ART is nigh. Two recent commits to AOSP have removed the Dalvik VM from the AOSP code, and set the default configuration to call the ART runtime in its place. The comment left by the developer who made the changes reads ‘Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik!’.
I’ve had my Nexus 7 set to ART for several months now and I haven’t encountered any issues. There has definitely been a noticeable increase in performance since making the switch though, so bring on the change, I say. If you’re interested in making the switch on your own device, you’ll need to be running Android 4.4, and you can follow our guide here. Unless you have an HTC One, which doesn’t have ART included.