Linaro Offers Up to 100% Speed Boost for Android

Developers at open-source nonprofit organization Linaro have posted a set of code tweaks for Android, enabling up to 100% increases in performance, compared to a vanilla version of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).

A video the group recently posted, from its Q2 event, appears to show the Linaro version of Android dramatically outperforming a stock Android Open Source Project installation on a 3D graphics benchmark, finishing the tests well before the original version.

Engineer Bernhard Rosenkränzer said in the video that much of the improvement is due to the use of a newer compiler version, as well as the aforementioned special tweaks to the OS.

"Another thing is that we're using the Linaro Android system, which has been optimized a lot," he said. "Just this week, we replaced all the string operations in Bionic [a BSD-standard C library used by Android] to make sure that we get a better, faster build."

He also said that, if the graphics drivers in the Texas Instruments Pandaboard test modules were open, they could have been optimized as well.

The community has been quick to embrace Linaro's upgrades, with CyanogenMod -- one of the most popular modified versions of Android, designed for users of rooted devices -- already moving to integrate the Linaro tweaks in to an upcoming iteration of their software.

Savvy Galaxy Nexus users with root access to their devices can give the upgrades a spin right away, thanks to developer Amar Rajvanshi, who posted a modified version of CyanogenMod 9 to Reddit Sunday. There is as yet no word on when support for other devices or official CM9 integration will be added.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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