While introducing its “L” release of Android on stage at Google I/O, the company announced that this version of Android runs on the ART, or Android Runtime. Previous versions of Android ran on the Dalvik runtime, but the “L” version of Android is dropping it in its entirety. Googler David Burke introduced this change on stage and said that the switch to ART should make Android run “twice as fast” as it did with Dalvik. Burke also said that developers won’t have to make many changes to switch to ART.
ART is a 64-bit runtime that includes a variety of changes. It’s designed to support a mix of AOT and JIT, and is cross-platform with support for ARM, x86, and MIPS. ART is much better for “garbage collection,” Burke said, in addition to being better about managing RAM. Graphic support is also much improved with ART. It supports graphic qualities like tessellation, geometry shaders, and many other things designed for gamers. Burke remarked that “You’re going to see new high-end tablets and phones with PC gaming capabilities.”
As part of the new ART-based operating system, Google introduced Project Volta, designed for improving battery life.