It’s no secret how badly Intel wants in on the mobile computing market. The silicon manufacturer has been hard at work developing the technology inside emerging Ultrabooks, as well as putting their weight behind the tablet and smartphone OS MeeGo. Unfortunately for Intel, the effort behind MeeGo likely won’t amount to much. Nokia has ditched the OS, leaving Intel with quite the conundrum. Nokia decided that, instead of holding steady and continuing development of MeeGo, they’d flock to Windows Mobile, trashing Android the entire time. Apparently, Intel sees it differently.
Announced today, Intel and Google have teamed up to bring Android to Intel’s x86 architecture. This isn’t the first we’ve heard about x86 compatibility, but it is the first time some definitive plans have been laid out. From this point forward, any and all versions of Android released will work with ARM and x86 configurations. Just to prove compatibility and their commitment to the platform, Intel is already showing off a tablet and phone using their Medfield processor, expected to debut in early 2012. The big question on everyone’s mind now is: How is Intel going to play catch up?
Intel is incredibly late to the game with smartphone and tablet processor manufaturing. When CES rolls around next year, Intel will be showing off single-core Medfield devices. Companies like NVIDIA are going to be showing off quad-core phones and tablets that will blow any currently available products out of the water. And they won’t be the only ones. Samsung, TI and Qualcomm all have a huge advantage right now. Personally, I’d like to wait until summer 2012 to make a firm judgement on just how well Intel will fare. Not only does Intel has a massive partner list and a reputation for quality, but the smartphone market is still anybody’s game. You can find pictures of Intel’s Android devices below.
Update: Our friends from Anandtech received some hands-on time with Intel’s Gingerbread reference platform.Show Press Release
The joint effort is designed to speed time-to-market of Intel technology-based smartphones running the Android platform. Intel will take advantage of the open-source accessibility of the Android platform to provide its customers with technology products that inspire continued innovation and also help enable powerful personal computing experiences that fully leverage Intel technology across a range of devices. This work will enable mobile device OEMs and wireless operators to draw upon the performance and low power capabilities of Intel® architecture and tap into the scale of the x86 developer ecosystem to further drive the adoption of the Android platform.
“By optimizing 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,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini.”Together we are accelerating Intel architecture and bringing new levels of innovation to a maturing Android platform.”
“Combining Android with Intel’s low power smartphone roadmap opens up more opportunity for innovation and choice,” said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google. “This collaboration will drive the Android ecosystem forward.”
Today’s announcement builds upon the two companies’ recent joint initiatives to enable Intel architecture on Google products, which include Chrome OS and Google TV along with the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and Native Development Kit (NDK).