One of the major frustrations with Android has always been the lag between tapping an icon and seeing the app actually open and start up. This mostly had to do with the old way of doing things. With the old Dalvik system, let’s say you install an app from the Play Store. When you go to run the app, your device (Android/Dalvik) pulls together all the data for the app that’s uncompiled and assembles it to launch the app. As long as you don’t use a task killer or exit out entirely from the app, it remains snappy to launch again. If, however, you do back out, it must go through the entire process again. Complete waste of time, right?
Google has begun to fix this problem in Android 4.4 KitKat with the introduction of ART as an alternative to Dalvik. With ART (Ahead-of-time), when you download and install an app, it automatically pre-compiles. This takes up more space on your device and takes longer to initially install when compared to Dalvik. However, apps launch quicker and are arguably faster when run using ART rather than Dalvik. What’s more, since less time is required to run apps, your processor doesn’t get worked as hard, and your battery life may benefit as a result. The extra storage space shouldn’t make too much difference in 2014 as we’re seeing most new devices ship with at least 32GB of storage space now.
Things like ART and Dalvik can be confusing to understand, and as of now, ART is still kind of experimental to the point where caution should be used when looking into using that system versus the tried and true Dalvik regime that is the standard. If you choose to run ART on your device, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read and re-read on the how’s and what’s of it before trying anything crazy. The system is built into KitKat, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work everywhere. Developers still need to get with the program and update their apps in order to function properly with ART.
I really feel like Google is on the right track with making Android 4.4 KitKat compatible with newer devices that have lower hardware specifications. After all, not everyone can afford the most expensive flagship devices out there. Even though KitKat isn’t designed for older devices, it should help those of us that own some older models, should we want to flash a port or some custom ROM based on 4.4 to our devices, since KitKat makes use of lower system requirements than previous versions of Android.
He Who is Last, Shall Be First:
Now that may sound weird but hear me out. I simply mean that specs don’t count for as much as they used to when you optimize your software to run on your chosen hardware. The Motorola X is a prime example of this considering its specs were not up to date with other OEM’s flagship devices, but it flies with the big boys in terms of speed and usability. It just works. They – Android/Google – definitely have the ability to make an astonishing ecosystem with no issues for switching between tasks on a device and battery life that should last a solid full day with medium to heavy usage like so many of us do.
With Motorola’s achievements in the Moto X, and being able to utilize higher performance out of lower spec parts, this really goes to show that Android can be made to run brilliantly without the need of blitzing fast processors or massive amounts of RAM. Android used to be very choppy and difficult to use without rooting the phone and messing with the system yourself. Now it seems that Android has finally gotten its act together and is making large strides with how to streamline its core functions.
The Motorola X doesn’t have the most up to date specs to it, but it flies with the big boys in terms of speed and usability.
Now with that all stated, I feel the Moto X has lived up to the “He who is last, shall be first” mantra. When it came out, all the tech enthusiasts were scoffing at the relatively mid-range specs of the phone (me included). In the world of flagship devices, the X certainly didn’t match some other big name companies, but it certainly got people’s attention with how well it functioned in its management of the actual software.
That attention it garnered for its optimized software has earned the Moto X a strong following even though the specs were relatively unimpressive. People now are beginning to see the value in software that is optimized for the hardware versus balls-to-the-wall top end specs that appear to be the current trend in the market.
Now I’m not the most tech-savvy person in the world. I couldn’t tell you what lines of code need to be changed to make an icon a different color or how to wire the main board in a more efficient manner. What I represent is the average user that enjoys technology, but sees where improvements could and should be made. I do see improvement in Android/Google’s approach to software versus hardware, and I do think that they can survive moving forward.
What are your thoughts on this? In what ways do you think the Android system can be bettered to make it the best system out there? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
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