Intel Readies Android 2.2 for x86
Intel engineers are working to port the Google Android mobile operating system to enable it to run with x86 processors.
The work sets the stage for more Atom-powered netbooks and tablets running Android rather than Microsoft Windows or Linux.
"Our expectation is that [native x86 Android] will be based on the Froyo release and will be available this summer to developers," Renee James, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Software and Services Group, told APC.
Google initially aimed Android at devices-including smartphones, smartbooks and tablets-that are powered primarily by ARM-designed processors.
However, Intel is looking to expand its reach into areas outside its core PC and server chip businesses. Atom initially was created to power such devices as netbooks, and now is finding its way into embedded environments, including automobile dashboards.
The chip giant also has created a developer community around Atom to help add to the types of devices the processor can power.
The native x86 version of Android will give developers the ability to create more smartphones and other devices powered by Atom chips and running the open-source mobile operating system.
This move comes as the smartphone market continues to see rapid growth, particularly around Apple iPhones and devices powered by Android.
At the release of Motorola's Droid X smartphone June 23, Google officials said 160,000 Android devices were being activated every day. They also said there are 60 Android devices, coming from 21 OEMs and 59 carriers in 49 countries.
Intel officials intend to be part of that market.
Intel's James told APC that porting Android to the x86 architecture "wasn't tremendously difficult, as we have a lot of experience in Linux." She also said the x86 code will be available to the Android developer community.