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ART, which stands for Android Runtime, handles app execution in a fundamentally different way from Dalvik. The current runtime relies on a Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler to interpret bytecode, a generic version of the original application code. In a manner of speaking, apps are only partially compiled by developers, then the resulting code must go through an interpreter on a user's device each and every time it is run. The process involves a lot of overhead and isn't particularly efficient, but the mechanism makes it easy for apps to run on a variety of hardware and architectures. ART is set to change this process by pre-compiling that bytecode into machine language when apps are first installed, turning them into truly native apps. This process is called Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) compilation. By removing the need to spin up a new virtual machine or run interpreted code, startup times can be cut down immensely and ongoing execution will become faster, as well.At present, Google is treating ART as an experimental preview, something for developers and hardware partners to try out. Google's own introduction of ART clearly warns that changing the default runtime can risk breaking apps and causing system instability. ART may not be completely ready for prime time, but the Android team obviously feels like it should see the light of day. If you're interested in trying out ART for yourself, go to Settings -> Developer options -> Select runtime. Activating it requires a restart to switch from libdvm.so to libart.so, but be prepared to wait about 10 minutes on the first boot-up while your installed apps are prepared for the new runtime. Warning: Do not try this with the Paranoid Android (or other AOSP) build right now. There is an incompatibility with the current gapps package that causes rapid crashing, making the interface unusable.