It was only 3 months ago when we first met the brand new Android Runtime, dubbed ART. In that time it has gained a substantial following by enthusiasts throughout the Android community. Given its "preview" status and warnings from the Android team that ART wasn't ready for the general population, it appeared unlikely that it would officially take the place of Dalvik anytime soon. However, a new commit to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is strong evidence that ART may become the default runtime in the next version of Android.
Shortly after the new Android Runtime made its grand entrance, I ran a pretty exhaustive (and exhausting) series of performance benchmarks that showed ART wasn't really ready to blow us away. At the time, I opted to avoid the topic of battery life because it is so difficult to test accurately and with unbiased, meaningful results. As it turns out, that was dumb. Yup, so many of you have asked, I finally had no choice but to dive in and run a battery of tests on...well, the battery.
We featured the DraStic Nintendo DS emulator way back when it launched and came away impressed. Version 2.2 of the app is probably the biggest update yet, adding a host of forward-looking features that should improve both performance and overall gaming satisfaction. Android 4.4 users in particular will be happy to hear that DraStic now supports Android Runtime (ART).
Those of you with a MOGA controller can now use it natively with DraStic, no root or workaround required.
Greenify is an app that can speed up devices by hibernating specific apps when they're not running in the foreground, limiting how many background apps may potentially sip away at your battery life. ART, short for Android Runtime, handles app execution in a way that can be significantly peppier than Dalvik. Together, the two can breathe new life in a rooted device, and this combination is now more stable thanks to the latest version of Greenify, which adds ART compatibility.
For a lot of users, Titanium Backup is one of the first Android apps they install on a new device or ROM. So it's no surprise that a few of them were dismayed when they tried to do so on the Nexus 5 (or one of a growing number of updated Android 4.4 devices) with the fancy new Android Runtime enabled, and found that Titanium would crash. The developer has updated the app to 220.127.116.11 in short order, and it should now run in both ART and Dalvik.
By now you've probably heard about ART and how it will improve the speed and performance of Android, but how does it actually perform today? The new Android Runtime promises to cut out a substantial amount of overhead by losing the baggage imposed by Dalvik, which sounds great, but it's still far from mature and hasn't been seriously optimized yet. I took to running a battery of benchmarks against it to find out if the new runtime could really deliver on these high expectations.
Following up on our roundup of May's absolute best games, we're back with the month's greatest apps. As with (almost) every month, May offered plenty in the way of great new apps to try out. If you feel like the supercomputer in your pocket just isn't doing enough, any of these apps are great starting points for added functionality, productivity, or just entertainment.
As with our last roundup, we'll also include a list of honorable mentions – those are the apps that didn't quite make the short list but that you should still take a look at if you find your selection wanting.
If you ever spent hours on the Etch-a-Sketch and thought that what it could really use was a dual-core processor, check out the video below. It's The Sandbox, an iOS hit game that's headed for Android soon. Well, "game" may not be the right word - it's more of a simplistic art/animation/music engine that happens to be played like a game. You take on the role of "apprentice deity" and get to play with the classical elements, completing simple missions or moving freestyle on the face of the waters.
If you aren't quite feeling the holiday spirit yet, Google has decided to lend a hand with a few holiday-oriented offerings focused on our favorite green robot.
The official Nexus page on Google+ shared a few "Happy Holiday Cards" this evening, depicting Bugdroid hanging out with some arctic pals sitting by a fire, having a party, ice skating, and – of course – playing with Android-powered phones and tablets. To download the full-resolution cards or share with friends, just click through to the original post, linked below.
If you've been paying attention to the news cycle lately, you've probably heard that Google—by way of the obscure "Niantic Labs"—released a game of some kind. You saw a trailer that depicted people discovering hidden energy fields within statues, landmarks, and artistic sculptures. You had no idea what was going on. You signed up for an invite anyway, because like any other weird Google product, you want in regardless of what it is.