The Play Store created some controversy last month after announcing plans to remove apps that used Accessibility Services for any purpose that didn't directly relate to disabled users. While Google is reconsidering the best implementation for the Accessibility Services policy, a separate announcement introduces additional policies intended to help make apps distributed through the Play Store more secure and possibly improve performance. Over the next two years, developers will be required to target a recent SDK version in their app updates and provide 64-bit versions of native apps if they aren't already. The Play Store will also begin adding some new metadata to APKs for verification purposes, but most developers shouldn't need to worry about this. Read More
A large part of the What's New in Android Development Tools session at Google I/O 2015 focused on one particular feature, or rather, group of features coming to Android Studio: upcoming support for C/C++ and the Android NDK. Version 1.3 RC1 of the IDE hit the canary channel late yesterday, finally enabling developers of native apps and games to begin transitioning from Eclipse (or another IDE) to Android Studio, if they choose to. Functionality is described as "preview quality," so there are still some known issues and probably quite a few bugs.
With the addition of NDK support, this release brings a number of internal and organizational changes, some of which will affect all developers. Read More
It looks like Google is putting the last nail in Dalvik's coffin, and the new Android Runtime (ART) is about to take the throne. A pair of commits turned up last night in the master branch of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository that spell certain doom for the Android runtime we've known
and loved for all these years. The first of the two changes completely wipes the /libdvm (Dalvik Virtual Machine) folder from AOSP, and the second takes care of changing all of the relevant configuration files and startup scripts to call on the ART runtime. Yup, this is the end for Dalvik.
Note: The line of 'D's on the far left mean: Delete. Read More
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.
The change in code is quite simple, it merely sets ART as the default and bumps Dalvik in as the alternate. Read More
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.
I've been running tests for over 6 weeks, covering virtually every angle I could think of and repeating several measurements to ensure the results were consistent and accurate. Read More
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. ART is definitely showing some promise, but I have to warn you that you probably won't be impressed with the results you'll see here today. Read More
It's fair to say that Android went through some chaotic years in the beginning. The pace of development was frantic as the operating system grew at an unprecedented rate. An as-yet undetermined future led to decisions that were made to conform to existing hardware and architectures, the available development tools, and the basic need to ship working code on tight deadlines. Now that the OS has matured, the Android team has been giving more attention to some of the components that haven't aged quite as well. One of the oldest pieces of the Android puzzle is the Dalvik runtime, the software responsible for making most of your apps run. Read More
Let's have some fun.
We always kind-of expect Glass to be Android based, but I was surprised to find just how Android based it was when I did a teardown of a Glass system dump. "Android based" is selling things a little short, Glass is Android, with just a few APKs piled on top. It reminds me a lot of Facebook home.
So, while I am still plugging away at my full review, I decided to take a bit of a break and see what happens when you try and run real Android apps on Glass.
It's actually pretty easy. Read More