Android N Ditches Oracle Code for OpenJDK: Advantages for Google and Devs

You have all heard by now about Google’s next software update; Android N. Apart from delivering new features, one of the changes that Google will bring in Android N is to switch from Oracle to OpenJDK, a move that’s being necessitated as much by the legal spat between Google and Oracle as well as a being a convenient option for developers. Now, as the company moves up a generation with software updates, it normally means that we can expect a much better operating system in the future, but what advantages will this switch bring to the table?  Lets take a look.

It Will Create A Common Playground For Several Developers

As suggested, one primary reason why Google is replacing its implementation of the Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in Android with OpenJDK is because it will create a common code base for developers to build apps and services. Currently, Android provides certain Java API libraries to support the development of apps in the Java programming language, and have been broken down into two parts, which are listed below:

  • APIs libraries
  • Implementation code developed by Google that make said these libraries work

Oracle, which develops Java, has two implementations of these libraries and they are known as the proprietary JDK version and the open source OpenJDK version. Google’s decision to move to OpenJDK means that it will be creating a common playground for developers. In addition, it will also simplify the code on which they build apps since it will possess a common codebase for these Java API libraries, as opposed to multiple codebases. While this is one of the reasons, we cannot understand why Google did not make the shift years ago. Perhaps it’s the fact that Apple’s software optimization, which is based on OpenJDK for making OS X applications is far ahead of Google in terms of fluidity and performance.

Google however, has stated that the reason why the company has decided to make the shift now is because of the introduction of new language features such as lambdas. With these new languages, Google wants to put more resources into OpenJDK where the team can have a bigger impact on new features as well as improvements. This is turn will make applications perform much faster as opposed to those running on previous software updates. The common code is what will allow Google to extend the bridge for its Android platform as far as developing business applications are concerned.

Google’s Android Finally has a Shot in the Business Products Segment with OpenJDK

Despite being the most popular mobile platform on the face of the earth, Android does not exactly cater to the requirements to users who want to use the operating for completing their work-related activates. This is where Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s OS X have a much better positioning, and Chrome OS is only popular amongst students since machines running them carry a much affordable price compared to other notebooks. With OpenJDK, developers will actually be able to gain freedom when it comes to developing Android and Chrome OS applications, which could pave the way for forming flexible office applications that could rival the products of Microsoft and Apple.

This is where tablets like Pixel C will become immensely popular amongst office employees since the combination of raw horsepower and flexible work-related apps will definitely be a match made in Android heaven. However, it is far too early to tell because Android Marshmallow is yet to be adopted by several million devices. During Google I/O, we will be hearing more about Android N and the OpenJDK platform that developers will be taking advantage of in making their app development processes more streamlined.

  • The headline for this article is incorrect and misleading. Google never used Oracle code, and by switching to OpenJDK, Google is NOW using Oracle-supported code. Google and Oracle’s courtroom battle was all about APIs, not about actual code. The Java libraries used right now on Android are based on Apache Harmony.

    Please delete this article or correct it.

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