Duncan Davidson on Android’s Virtual Machine Performance as a Competitive Factor Against the iPhone

Duncan Davidson, who knows a thing or two about Java, responding to this argument by Java developer Sam Pullara that Android’s Dalvik VM puts the iPhone at a significant competitive disadvantage, for performance reasons:

A faster VM will certainly help things out. But Android’s eventual fate will have little to do with how fast the VM is or how long method dispatches take on the iPhone. Instead, it’ll have to do with harder things like user experience, service plans, interoperability, and excellent applications.

I don’t think anyone would argue that Dalvik isn’t a high-performance VM, especially starting with Android 2.2. And there are absolutely some interesting debates about VMs versus native compilation — but those are developer debates, and no concern whatsoever to actual users.

But Pullara’s argument that Objective-C is inherently slow ignores the real-world results that show that it isn’t — based not on simple “how many million strings can you create per second?” benchmarks, but on the performance of actual iPhone software. (And for technical information about the performance of objc_msgSend(), the specific thing Pullara argues is crippling iPhone performance, you can’t beat Bill Bumgarner’s four-part series on how objc_msgSend() works.)

Or, you could save yourself a lot of time and just read this tweet from Guy English.

Thursday, 27 May 2010