Finally, Android L removes of one of the foundational elements of earlier versions: the Dalvik virtual machine. It is replaced by ART (Android Run Time), which takes a very different approach than Dalvik. Rather than compile Java code on the fly, ART operates upstream, when installing applications. The advantage, according to Google, is a performance gain. Of course, we wanted to test that claim using some native and Web-based tests from our mobile benchmark suite.
Unfortunately, the results do not support Google’s claims at this time. Android L proves consistently slower than Android 4.4.4. However, it's nothing to be alarmed about since both ART and the version of Chrome that we tested are still in beta. We’ll repeat these tests for the final version, but for now, there’s no reason to install Android L with the hope to achieve performance gains.
ART also seems to have an effect on app size. The 24 apps we installed occupied a total of 2.05 GB on Android L, versus just 1.955 GB on Android 4.4.4 - five percent less than the newer version.