A piece of Android operating system source code indicates that Google plans to replace the Dalvik compiler with the ART compiler in a future version of its mobile OS. Currently, this compiler, which is supposed to make running apps faster, is experimental.
The code in question was put online in the Git repositories for Android source code and was written by Google employee Brian Carlstrom. It is clear from the description that the code is intended to make the ART runtime compiler default and disable Dalvik, who has been working in Android for many years. However, Dalvik seems to remain present in Google’s mobile operating system with the code shown.
ART must ensure that apps can be run faster within the Android operating system. One of the novelties is that ART has support for ahead of time compiling, while Dalvik works with just in time. ART would also deliver better native code, making better use of the underlying hardware. The software is based on DroidBooster, the Android accelerator previously owned by Google.
An experimental version of the ART compiler was provided by Google in Android 4.4. Interested parties had to turn this on themselves via the developer menu in Android, which is hidden by default. Because apps have to be made suitable to work with ART, it is likely that Google wanted to ensure that developers prepare for this with the delivery. It is still unclear when and how Google wants to continue the change from Dalvik to ART. The internet giant has not yet announced anything about this.