Android 2.2 shows a 450% speed boost over 2.1

It seems like each day brings us a small step closer to the inevitable launch of Google's next iteration of their mobile operating system, Android 2.2 (aka Froyo). Just yesterday, we reported what seems to be the first picture of Froyo's homescreen, along with the new features that it seems to bring. Today, some more excitement has been brought to our attention.

For the past week, Android Police has been privileged to have a Nexus One running Android 2.2 with full Flash 10.1 support in their possession. The site plans to release video footage of the new OS, but in the meantime, has left us salivating over the few details they've decided to share.

The most fascinating tidbit of information is in reference to the performance boost that 2.2 brings over 2.1 (aka Eclair). Using the new JIT (just-in-time) compilation in its kernel, Froyo seems to perform 450% faster than Eclair. On the Linpack benchmark test, a Nexus One running 2.1 managed a score of 6.5 to 7 MFLOPS. Compared to the HTC Hero, which scored a 2, that may look pretty darn good. However, if you compare it to a Nexus One running Froyo, you'd probably have to double check your numbers before believing what you'd see. Android 2.2 managed a score of 37.5 MFLOPS. This means that without a single hardware improvement, Froyo delivers a whopping 450% speed boost to an Android handset.

Knowing this information, we can now understand how the latest release of the Android OS is able to run Flash 10.1 as smoothly as it does. It also explains why Adobe waited to implement it in this specific version. Pushing a full version of Flash on the Android platform prior to Froyo would probably not have delivered respectable performance. With the tweaks Google has seemed to implement, Android plus Flash is looking like a deadly combo.

UPDATE: Android Police has added the following clarification regarding the connection between Flash performance and JIT compilation:

"Some of you (like Cyanogen and Uhhhh) pointed out that JIT compilation only helps programs that are not compiled to native code, which Flash and some video codecs/drivers seem to be. Thank you for this clarification.

While real-life improvements will most certainly not be 450% across the board, we still expect the N1 and even Flash to benefit from JIT because, as other programs become more efficient, more CPU will be available to such natively compiled programs."

Froyo Linpack Benchmark

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62 Comments

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Let's not mix things up. The JIT compiler allows to run pure Android java code 450% faster. Native code and Flash will not benefit from this. Flash in 2.2 is faster however because it uses hardware acceleration much better.

"Some of you (like Cyanogen and Uhhhh) pointed out that JIT compilation only helps programs that are not compiled to native code, which Flash and some video codecs/drivers seem to be. Thank you for this clarification."

Obviously. Android is coded in Java, whilst device drivers are written in C++ for speed and necessity, as the cost of constantly communicating basic stuff through JNI (Java Native Interface) would be extremely prohibitive due to incompatible types, etc. I can't believe that they could have even assumed that device drivers could be coded using Java.

Android is just so amazing. The speed improvement is so sweet. I would also like to see a nice video player built in and maybe an updated music player. If they do this, IPhone will not stand a chance in the future.

Top Devices link in the app shows a lot of people (i assume from Google) with Froyo with same result.

Just installed Linpack on my Nexus to try... indeed 6.958 MFLOPS with 2.1... cannot wait for 2.2

updates, this is the big issue with android devices.......must be some way of getting future updates but by bypassing the carriers and manufacturers.......

And no one thinks that perhaps the benchmark is wrong, simply because its written for and older version and they are running it with a newer version of Android, they just magically believe there is a 450% increase in performance. Does not sound likely to me unless they unlocked a magical hidden core in the Tiny CPU

littleneutrino said,
And no one thinks that perhaps the benchmark is wrong, simply because its written for and older version and they are running it with a newer version of Android, they just magically believe there is a 450% increase in performance. Does not sound likely to me unless they unlocked a magical hidden core in the Tiny CPU

Actually, it's to be expected. How'd you think Opera went from having a mediocre javascript engine in versions 9 and 10 to a blazing fast one in 10.5? JIT. What versions of Android apps are written for is largely irrelevant, as it has backwards compatibility, Linpack is simply a hardware stress test app. Do you dismiss the results of 3D Mark Vantage on Windows 7 because it was initially made for Vista?

Even using JIT on the G1 with Android 1.6 (and this is a modified Java VM, not an official Kernel module) gave an increase from 2.2 to 3.5 Megaflops

Edited by Subject Delta, May 12 2010, 1:00pm :

Ya, I fully believe the numbers. I've seen the benchmark improvements granted by the hacked together JIT for the Samsung Moment. Heck, when I saw the headline's "450% speed boost" I was intrigued, but when I read the article, I just sorta thought "Oh, well, yeah". XD

SHADOW-XIII said,
now I know which droid phone to buy, was thinking about some htc but will go for nexus

I think you should know, some people probably snickered at your post.

/hint: nexus is an HTC phone

The one thing I hate about android phones is the utter lack of a unified, quick way of upgrading the OS. A lot of phones are coming out with 2.1 now a days, but after seeing this 2.2 "benchmark", I'm tempted to not get a new phone until either the carriers get their heads out of their asses or phones start coming with 2.2 preloaded.

spacer said,
The one thing I hate about android phones is the utter lack of a unified, quick way of upgrading the OS. A lot of phones are coming out with 2.1 now a days, but after seeing this 2.2 "benchmark", I'm tempted to not get a new phone until either the carriers get their heads out of their asses or phones start coming with 2.2 preloaded.

It's true. By the time 2.2 would show up on today's devices (if it does--I'm pretty sure the Samsung Moment will NOT see it due to...er, well, it's Samsung) we'd already be on our second wave of WP7 devices and HP would be releasing firmware updates to their WebOS tablet.

You'll always have your forum slackers ready and waiting to whip out their proud "XDA WILL HALP YOO" posts, but despite XDA's snazzy work, it's meaningless for any non-HTC phone, and even the HTC phones aren't exactly all getting fully-functional crash-free ROMs.

Tpiom said,
Speed boosts, such as this, can only happen when you allow the OpenSource community handle it too!

Nope. Nothing is 'only' possible with open source. Developers are developers, whether they're paid or voluntary. Something might come about more quickly with open source, and something might take much longer to come about with open source. But the idea that FOSS is the end-all-be-all of what development can ever possibly hope to be is just a bunch of patting their own backs and has no foundation in reality.

With the HTC Desire being my first Android device, I have no experience of how quickly system updates get pushed out but I do hope it's quick! From what I've read regarding HTC (because of the Sense UI) it probably won't be

"Knowing this information, we can now understand how the latest release of the Android OS is able to run Flash 10.1 as smoothly as it does. It also explains why Adobe waited to implement it in this specific version."
ok so the real info here is that flash 10.1 is coded in java and is not a native app. That's strange, one would have expected it to be a native app.

BlueScreenJunky said,
"Knowing this information, we can now understand how the latest release of the Android OS is able to run Flash 10.1 as smoothly as it does. It also explains why Adobe waited to implement it in this specific version."
ok so the real info here is that flash 10.1 is coded in java and is not a native app. That's strange, one would have expected it to be a native app.

IIRC the JIT on Android supports more than just Java.

rawr_boy81 said,

IIRC the JIT on Android supports more than just Java.

What else, exactly, do you JIT? Java and .NET is essentially it right now (obviously not in the world of the weird and the wonderful, but nothing else mainstream uses JIT--it is all AOT).

ascendant123 said,

What else, exactly, do you JIT? Java and .NET is essentially it right now (obviously not in the world of the weird and the wonderful, but nothing else mainstream uses JIT--it is all AOT).

Almost all of the Android framework is Java, so the performance boost will be across the board, the kernel and the libraries however are C++ But with the browser and all other system applications being Java, it makes sense that the Flash plugin would be as well

Singh400 said,
Can some dev please explain how this is possible? It is just a case of more cleaner, lighter and efficient code?

Not exactly. It's due to the JIT compiler. Apps written for Android are "compiled" into bytecode, which is NOT native machine code. Normally, when you run an App, it is compiled into machine code as you run the app. However with JIT, the whole app is compiled into machine code, then it is executed. What this means is slightly slower startup, but much faster running.

My analogy: Imagine you are going to drive 100 miles, and your car does 1 mile per liter. You could either fill up the car with 10 liters 10 times during the journey, or fill up with 100 liters at the start. Obviously filling with 100 liters at the start is more efficient as you don't have to make as many stops to the petrol startion hence quicker

KSib said,
I understood the analogy at least
This means whole app will be complied at start, which will result a little slow start-up but better app performance.

KSib said,
I understood the analogy at least

I think he should have made it more difficult... like 3 miles per liter, going 333 miles.

KSib said,
I understood the analogy at least

dude, thanks for the laugh really, i need it. My eyes teared up for some reason, brilliant... lol

shakey said,

dude, thanks for the laugh really, i need it. My eyes teared up for some reason, brilliant... lol

At the analogy, or the fact that shakey about understood it? lol

Redmak said,
Will my HTC Magic ever get an official upgrade or do I need to do it myself?

If you have yours rooted, there's a test version of Cyanogen Mod built on Android 2.1 for the Magic, and unlike all of the other Eclair roms built for the G1 and Magic, it's fully functional

Redmak said,
Will my HTC Magic ever get an official upgrade or do I need to do it myself?

T-Mobile is currently working on an Android 2.1 ROM for the myTouch 3G (HTC Magic is called that in the U.S), which will be released sometime after they release their myTouch 3G Slide.

So, I guess we'll see 2.1 for the HTC Magic at some point.

Lamp Post said,

T-Mobile is currently working on an Android 2.1 ROM for the myTouch 3G (HTC Magic is called that in the U.S), which will be released sometime after they release their myTouch 3G Slide.

So, I guess we'll see 2.1 for the HTC Magic at some point.

From what I heard, the official 2.1 ROM for the Magic will also include SenseUI

Subject Delta said,

From what I heard, the official 2.1 ROM for the Magic will also include SenseUI


The current ROM got Sense UI, however, the 2.1 will include the new Espresso build of the UI.

Lamp Post said,

The current ROM got Sense UI, however, the 2.1 will include the new Espresso build of the UI.

I am pretty sure that the 1.6 Rom that is available for the Magic doesn't include sense

mulligan2k said,
only another 18months and this will available on the hero!!!

???
It's available as soon as it's out, I have Android 2.1 on my Hero already.

Exosphere said,

???
It's available as soon as it's out, I have Android 2.1 on my Hero already.

I think mulligan was referring to official HTC ROMs, because you're probably running a custom ROM. I've been waiting for the official 2.1 ROM myself for my Hero.

Keine Lust said,
I think mulligan was referring to official HTC ROMs, because you're probably running a custom ROM. I've been waiting for the official 2.1 ROM myself for my Hero.

In terms of custom versus official - is there anything lost when you move to a custom ROM versus an official one?

Keine Lust said,

I think mulligan was referring to official HTC ROMs, because you're probably running a custom ROM. I've been waiting for the official 2.1 ROM myself for my Hero.

I was in the same position until a week ago. I finally got sick of waiting and did it myself. The new navigation is brilliant Will certainly put 2.2 on it!

rawr_boy81 said,
In terms of custom versus official - is there anything lost when you move to a custom ROM versus an official one?
Support would be one major thing.

rawr_boy81 said,

In terms of custom versus official - is there anything lost when you move to a custom ROM versus an official one?

Compatibility issues would be a second major thing. The 2.1 Hero ROM wasn't exactly solid from the get-go, and still has its quirks. Not that official ROMs don't.

rawr_boy81 said,

In terms of custom versus official - is there anything lost when you move to a custom ROM versus an official one?

Well, you usually lose your warranty, but using custom ROMs usually gives you additional features and custom ROMs are usually tweaked for performance as well.