Google has been making multiple changes to Android Open Source Project recently, ahead of Google I/O, Google’s developer conference. The Android Open Source Project, or AOSP, is the master branch of code used to compile Android. Google merges commits to AOSP when it wants to make major modifications to how the Android OS operates.
One major commit made the other day was to remove Dalvik as Android’s default runtime, and replace it with ART, or Android Runtime. Both Dalvik and ART are what compile your favorite apps and allow them to run. The big difference is that Dalvik is a Just-In-Time compiler that rebuilds the app every time it’s used. Whereas ART is an Ahead-Of-Time compiler that builds the app once when it is installed.
Today’s commit, merged by Google employee Andrew Hsieh, has to do with how Google names their API levels. An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a pieces of software that defines how other pieces of software interact with each other. Normally, Google uses a numeric value to name their API levels, from 1 (Cupcake) to 19 (Kit Kat.) Starting with the next major version of Android, it looks like Google will be using the first letter of the release name, in this case L for Lollipop, to name their APIs. In addition, the commit also points to the next major version of Android being a 64-bit operating system.
Right now, Android is a 32-Bit operating system, meaning it can only handle up to 4GB of RAM. With the change to 64-Bit, Android will be able to utilize an almost unlimited amount of RAM. This is an important step in Android’s growth, and will allow it to perform complex tasks much quicker. We’re more than like to hear more about these and other changes to Android on Wednesday at Google I/O. So stay tuned to Android Headlines for all your Google I/O news.