This Google experiment could eliminate screen lag in Android apps

Instead of using Java for Android apps in the future, Sky could be the framework. The experimental language is based on Google Dart and aims for 120 fps animations.

Scrolling and animations in some Android apps aren't always "jank-free" as Google likes to say. You might have seen this in the form of some lag or delay in an app: Swiping or scrolling seems to be a split second or more behind your actual finger touch on a phone or tablet.

Google has a fix for that but it will require a major change in the way Android apps are written.

Instead of using Java, the common language to create most Android software, Google is experimenting with a version of its own Dart language for mobile apps. As ArsTechnica notes though, the mobile version of Dart will, at least for now, be called Sky.

At a Google developer event last week, the company showed off its Sky experiment, illustrating 60 frames per second animations. The project goal is to double the rendering speed to 120 fps, which is audacious when you consider that most mobile displays currently have 60 fps display rates. Consider Sky future-proof then, for screen technology that may arrive in the coming years.

Dart itself isn't new; Google introduced it as an alternative to JavaScript in October, 2011.

Dart apps for the web can be compiled into JavaScript as needed. That's key since an app written in Dart requires a special virtual machine in the browser. If that VM isn't there -- it's built into Chromium, the open source version of Chrome -- then the app has to be complied in the more universal JavaScript language.

For now, Sky appears to be very web-centric, just as Dart is. All of the demo apps and examples are served to an Android device from a web server. The framework, however, does support Google Android's Material Design components, making them look like familiar native apps.

Clearly, it's early days for Sky. Google is clear that it's an experimental effort. If it pans out, however, a shift from Java to Sky could eliminate that pesky screen lag often associated with Android apps.

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