We knew that Android 2.2 was going to integrate a faster Java virtual machine* but someone went through the effort of actually benchmarking it, and the raw extra speed is as high as 6X. To arrive to this conclusion, the AndroidPolice.com folks have run Android 2.2 on a Nexus One (read our Nexus One Review), and compared the relative performance of Java code execution on Android 2.1 and 2.2 by running Linpack, a performance benchmark available on the Android Store. The net result is a score that went from 6.5 to 37.5.
It’s good progress, but it also shows how much resources and cycles the current virtual machine is consuming. I often hear developers say that Java is “almost as fast as native code” (!) but these results would suggest quite the contrary… even if the situation gets better. Of course, such a progress makes life better in general: the phone is said to be much faster (responsive).
*Most Android apps are written in Java, a language that is compiled for a “virtual machine” (WM) which abstracts the actual hardware. A WM is handy because it allows Android to be deployed quickly on different processors, but that also consumes more resources/cycles than apps written in “native code” which don’t require a VM.
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