Android 4.4 KitKat

A new commit in AOSP indicates that the Android runtime (ART) could become default in the next version of Android.

When Android 4.4 KitKat was first announced there were quite a few new features brought to the table including a redesigned dialer, improved Google Now integration and the list goes on. KitKat also brought us our first taste of ART, a hidden Android runtime that could easily be enabled via Developer options.

When ART first surfaced, it was noted that it performed faster than the existing Dalvik, but there were also noted compatibility issues with some apps. While some of these issues still exist, many app developers have since updated their apps to better work with the currently optional run-time. Still, ART isn’t quite ready for primetime — or is it? A new commit to the Android Open Source Project hints that ART may be made default with the next version of Android.

The change is basically just a minor revision in the code that sets ART to default, and leaves Dalvik as an option that you can fall back to in the event something goes wrong. At the moment, this change is live in the master branch, but it’s important to note that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see it pushed out with the next version of Android. Code changes happen often throughout the development process, and the developers could simply have added the change for testing purposes. Bottom-line, take the possibility with a grain of salt.

What do you think of ART so far? Do you think it’s ready to replace Dalvik by default or is Google better off waiting a bit longer?