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Intel Porting Android for x86 Notebooks, Tablets

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 24 comments

Intel is porting Android to x86 for Atom-based devices.

Intel is reportedly working on a fully native x86 version of Google's Android operating system for Atom-powered netbooks and tablets. The company may actually porting the highly-anticipated "Froyo" v2.2--Google released the SDK back in May and just made the source code available on Wednesday. However this of course may depend on whether Google will finalize FroYo before Intel's expected release of the x86 Android OS later this summer.

Originally Android was written to run on ARM processors. However Intel's senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group Renee James said that the process of "Atomizing" the OS wasn't difficult at all thanks to the company's previous experience with Linux. The overall process is expected to wrap up soon.

"Our expectation is that (native x86 Android) will be based on the Froyo release and will be available this summer to developers," James said. She also added that the code used to construct the x86 Android OS will be piped back into the "open branch," and will be accessible to the Android developer community.

Although the software is expected to be used on Atom-based tablets and netbooks, Intel is hoping that this port will provide hardware partners another OS-based option for Atom-powered smartphones in the future.

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  • 8 Hide
    kyeana , June 24, 2010 5:32 PM
    That is good news, although personally i would still prefer a normal linux distribution on a netbook, as they have much larger distro specific repositories.

    I do like all the love android is getting though :) 
  • -7 Hide
    webbwbb , June 24, 2010 5:46 PM
    That last paragraph is very quizzical. I really do not know how or why Intel thinks Atom processors would work in a smart phone. If they are able to achieve massive power reductions they will still be about 10 times what they should which will not only drain a battery but may even require an active cooling system. It just seems like an unachievable goal.
  • 1 Hide
    wcooper007 , June 24, 2010 5:50 PM
    hey webbwbb have you not been keeping up with the news on the atom procs the newest ver. that they have has two models one which is for netbooks and nettops and the other for SMARTPHONES.... and its power consumption is almost equal to that of the arm processor and its able to preform about 2x faster than anything else on the market at this time soo do some reading man your way behind...
  • 2 Hide
    samwelaye , June 24, 2010 6:04 PM
    finally, a very viable option to windows 7 starter on the netbooks
  • 1 Hide
    flightmare , June 24, 2010 6:06 PM
    Nice they are working on 2.x, Android x86 project is still on 1.6.
  • 3 Hide
    crashtest , June 24, 2010 6:13 PM
    webbwbbThat last paragraph is very quizzical. I really do not know how or why Intel thinks Atom processors would work in a smart phone. If they are able to achieve massive power reductions they will still be about 10 times what they should which will not only drain a battery but may even require an active cooling system. It just seems like an unachievable goal.


    They are talking about Moorestown
  • 1 Hide
    voodoobunny , June 24, 2010 6:52 PM
    Android on quad-core Atom FTW!

    Imagine a tablet with FroYo or Gingerbread and a quad-core Atom...
  • -1 Hide
    zdzichu , June 24, 2010 7:19 PM
    Quite schizophrenical for Intel. They already have full distribution (MeeGo) working with tablets, netbooks and phones. Touching Android looks like marketing gimmick without real value.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2010 7:49 PM
    I think Intel is just covering all their bases so that Moorestown takes off properly in the smart phone market. They have MeeGo and Android ready for their chips which will make them more attractive to hardware developers.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2010 7:52 PM
    @zdzichu More OS choices for atom = more sales. Pretty obvious.
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , June 24, 2010 8:16 PM
    Intel is sort of desperately clinging to x86 at this time. Sure, its been extremely successful in the desktop market (that's still and understatement), but its has its limitations. There are reasons embedded systems use ARM/RISC/PPC chips.

    For the consumer, there's just no benefit to using x86 over ARM (we don't really care what its running, as long as it runs). As for developers, since everything these days is Java, they don't really care about the platform either. Since these smartphones have much different hardware setups than a desktop computer, there's really no re-use argument here. You can't port a desktop app to a cellphone app any easier with x86 vs. ARM (when it was already in Java).

    In the end, Intel is spending a lot of money to try to enter into a market where it really doesn't belong. They should be happy with 90% desktop/computer dominance. They really don't need another market tempting them to do something the FTC will frown upon.
  • 1 Hide
    m-manla , June 24, 2010 9:19 PM
    I like this!
  • 0 Hide
    WR , June 24, 2010 10:54 PM
    zdzichuQuite schizophrenical for Intel. They already have full distribution (MeeGo) working with tablets, netbooks and phones. Touching Android looks like marketing gimmick without real value.

    What about the 65,000 strong Android App marketplace? And in case MeeGo tanks on one or more of those platforms?

    hellwigIntel is sort of desperately clinging to x86 at this time. Sure, its been extremely successful in the desktop market (that's still and understatement), but its has its limitations. There are reasons embedded systems use ARM/RISC/PPC chips.

    It couldn't be that ARM didn't want to pay for the x86 license? And that Intel doesn't want to pay for an ARM license? Who here doesn't want to see some real competition in mobile phone CPU architecture?!

    hellwigFor the consumer, there's just no benefit to using x86 over ARM (we don't really care what its running, as long as it runs). As for developers, since everything these days is Java, they don't really care about the platform either.

    Right, but Intel does x86 better than anyone else. The eventual vision for the consumer would be faster/cheaper phones/mobiles. Intel has process tuning expertise. And Moorestown is power-management experience for their other segments.
  • 0 Hide
    matt87_50 , June 24, 2010 11:32 PM
    Quote:
    For the consumer, there's just no benefit to using x86 over ARM (we don't really care what its running, as long as it runs). As for developers, since everything these days is Java, they don't really care about the platform either. Since these smartphones have much different hardware setups than a desktop computer, there's really no re-use argument here. You can't port a desktop app to a cellphone app any easier with x86 vs. ARM (when it was already in Java).


    tell that to game developers... PC, xbox, ps3, wii, DS and psp, iphone, all c++. and you most certainly CAN reuse all of your game code between platforms. and anyway... there is no such thing as porting between x86 and arm, as long as you have two competent c++ compilers, you don't have to do anything. so as long as intel add the appropriate stuff to the Android NDK, our life will remain easy, unlike with winmo7 where we have to recode everything in c# :( 
  • 0 Hide
    Azriel4444 , June 25, 2010 2:09 AM
    WTF happened to MeeGo? LOL, almost everyone is jumping on the Android bandwagon.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 25, 2010 3:40 AM
    This might possibly open up a niche of netbook converted to a quasi-phone via Android. Just a thought.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 25, 2010 6:20 AM
    Intel porting Android to x86 while Nokia porting MeeGo to ARM - that is the beauty of open source, you can do what you want to do :) 
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , June 25, 2010 10:01 AM
    Good for netbooks.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , June 25, 2010 12:43 PM
    I have Nero and my printer installed on my netbook, I attach a USB DVDRW, will I still be able to run Nero if I jump to Android? Will I still be able to print things out?
    Must be like the 100th time i've asked and still not got a straight answer.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , June 25, 2010 1:02 PM
    Is Intel really abandoning its partner, MS?
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