XBMC 13, OpenElec 4.0, JavaScriptCore and Android stats

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XBMC and OpenElec updated: The XBMC Media Centre app has been updated to version 13.0 with hardware decoding support for Android, performance improvements on Raspberry Pi and Android, support for stereoscopic 3D rendering and better touchscreen, UPnP and Audio Engine handling including “real pulseaudio support”. And with the release of a new XBMC comes an update to OpenElec, the small Linux distro built to turn machines into XBMC boxes. With OpenElec 4.0 there’s an updated kernel and refreshed toolchain, UEFI boot support, general package updates and first support for TTS (text-to-speech).

JavaScriptCore heats up: The JavaScriptCore project takes care of building Safari and WebKit’s JavaScript component. Currently they are working on FTL, a JIT engine which plugs exisiting code into the LLVM optimisation pipeline. Hows that working out for them? Pretty well according to Are We Fast Yet where its winning out over Chrome on asm.js benchmarks. But there’s still a long way to go – if we step back to the wider benchmark view, it’s only holding a lead in the super-synthetic Sunspider benchmark. Its still one to watch and reminds us that JavaScript optimisation is far from a two horse race.

Android 4.1 the new GingerBread?: For a long time, Android 2.3.3-2.3.7 aka Gingerbread, dominated the Android devices out there. The Google statistics put it down at 16.2% now, well down from its peak with 82% of Android devices running version 4 or later. There’s only one fly in the ointment there though – nearly half of that – 33.5% – is devices running Android 4.1, the first “JellyBean” release from way back in July 2012. It seems to have become the new minimally acceptable Android version for vendors. It’ll be interesting to see if it becomes as sticky as Gingerbread became. On the upside, at least Android 4.4, Kitkat, is matching its 4.3 predecessor in share after jumping to 8.5% from 5.3%. That indicates a healthy uptake over time, at least until the next Android version announcement.

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