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.
I looked under developer options on my 2012 Nexus 7 but there’s no Select Runtime option. Running Android 4.4.2. Does that mean it will never be an option on theses devices? That would be a shame as the performance and lag are terrible.
The Google response from the android bug tracker suggests that nexus 7 2012 will never get ART, and by deduction won’t get the new version of android.
Custom ROMs will let you have it – given support will be gone soon it may be time to look at the custom landscape soon.
This will prove to be interesting to see the fallout to.
What happens to app upgrades for devices which will never have ART?
What happens to non-Google Android devices?