Linaro Brings Drastic Performance Improvements to Android

The awesome hackers behind Linaro have successfully optimized Google Android using the GCC 4.7 toolchain. With this optimization, the Linaro team claims that Android can perform task 30 to 100 percent faster. Looking at the figures, this is no match for the Android optimization that XobotOS claimed, though it retains the same technology stack and has a better chance of being considered. While this optimization will not bring visible improvements to high-end smartphones, it will surely come as a boon to low-power devices and will probably let them run ICS too.

This video at Linaro Connect Q2.2012 demonstrates the oxBench benchmark on two pandaboards, one running Android AOSP and another running Linaro optimization over AOSP.  Linaro manages nearly 60 fps in all benchmarks whereas AOSP struggles at 30 fps. Currently, Linaro is aiming at CPU optimization only, because the GPU gives them compiled binary objects.

Linaro is a not-for-profit effort backed by IBM, Freescale and ARM aimed at reducing the time-to-market for various mobile Linux variants. It was first announced in June 2010, though there has not been a single device that uses Linaro’s optimization. In February this year, canonical used Linaro to run Ubuntu on ARM.

For now, Linaro’s Android optimization is only engaging other enthusiasts, but no device manufacturer has picked up Linaro to improve its Android offering. A thread over at XDA forum suggests that Linaro is coming to CM9. This might give CM9 a head start in Linaro optimization, given that CyanogenMod already performs better than stock Android. The Linaro team is making good progress and we hope to see more optimization coming out of their foundry in near future.