ART is the engine behind the Android operating system (OS). It provides the runtime and core APIs that all apps and most OS services rely on. Both Java and Kotlin are compiled down to bytecode executed by ART. Improvements in the runtime, compiler and core API benefit all developers making app execution faster and bytecode compilation more efficient.
While parts of Android are customizable by device manufacturers, ART is the same for all devices and Google Play system updates enable a path to modular updates.
Google’s been working hard to make ART more modular, and untangling it from the rest of Android for easier updates. This has led to some drastic improvements in application startup times – ART 13 cut them by 30%, Google claims – and since ART updates hit every single Android device, there’s no fragmentation.
As for the future, ART 14 is on its way.
In the coming months, we’ll be releasing ART 14 to all compatible devices. ART 14 includes OpenJDK 17 support along with new compiler and runtime optimizations that improve performance while reducing code size.
It’s good to see that some Android improvements are not held back by Android’s update woes.