Google to optimise future versions of Android to support Intel's Atom processors
ARM is not the only choice
Following on from Microsoft revealing its PC/tablet-oriented Windows 8 OS at its BUILD developers conference, Intel has proved it's moving in a similar direction at its own devcon.
Announcing an agreement with Google, the two companies will work together to ensure future versions of the Android OS work well on Intel's Atom processors, presumably the next generation Oak Trail Atom family.
To-date, the vast majority of Android devices have run on processors based on rival ARM's architecture, although as an open source OS, OEMs could do their own work to get it to work on Intel chips if they want to.
Try, try, try again
The deal is a further move by Intel to crack the fast growing market for mobile devices. To-date its x86 PC chips have been regarded as being too hot and consuming too much power to balance the battery life and performance required for the form factor.
Intel says the move will give OEMs a wider choice in terms of what chips they can use, as well as enabling the x86 development ecosystem to feed into Android.
Of course, it's likely to add another layer of fragmentation into Android, depending on how support for applications not designed for Intel chips is handled.
It's thought Android devices based on Atom processors could be available sometime in the first half of 2012.
"Combining Android with Intel's low power smartphone roadmap opens up more opportunity for innovation and choice," said Andy Rubin, Google's senior vice president of mobile.
"By optimising the Android platform for Intel architecture, we bring a powerful new capability to market that will accelerate more industry adoption and choice, and bring exciting new products to market that harness the combined potential of Intel technology and the Android platform," added Intel CEO Paul Otellini.
The announcement builds on similar moves to optimise Intel architecture for products such as Chrome OS and Google TV, as well as including support with the Android SDK and Native Development Kit.
It also suggests rumours that Intel was effectively giving up on its MeeGo OS were true.
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