Sep 13 AT 3:02 PM Dustin Earley 10 Comments

Intel and Google announce Android x86 optimization

Screen Shot 2011-09-13 at 3.44.57 PM

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
Santa Clara and Mountain View, Calif., Sept. 13, 2011 — Intel Corporation and Google Inc. today announced that they will work to enable and optimize future versions of Androidâ„¢ for Intel’s family of low power Atomâ„¢ processors. This means that future versions of the Android platform will support Intel technology in addition to other architectures.

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).

Source: ThisIsMyNext

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Mike Leahy

    Yep… Really stoked about this as it’ll work out quite nicely for the Android powered audio / DSP _wired_ hardware box I’m planning on getting back to after the launch of TyphonRT and some stewardship of it. I have more thoughts here:

    This isn’t just about smartphones and Intel playing catch up per se. Quite likely ARM will reign supreme in the smartphone and small integrated device market. However, strong Android / x86 support will aid Android adoption on wired hardware and where there are legacy code and applications that would be prohibitive to port to the ARM architecture. There is a lot more DSP code out there for x86 than ARM for instance. I’ll actually be leveraging a state of the art DSP synthesis engine called SuperCollider for my hardware.

  • nastysquar3d

    All I have to say is, never underestimate Intel. They might play catch up at first, but with their resources and the (assumed) talent they have working within the company, they will quickly catch up, and maybe even surpass many already established mobile chip manufacturers.

  • Dave K

    “The silicone 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.”

    I don’t think Intel is in the breast implant business, so I doubt they’re making silicone. Maybe you mean silicon?

    • Dustin Earley

      Ha! Best typo ever. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • CTown

    I doubt that Meego will suffer too much since Nokia is making Qt more easier to contribute to. Isn’t Qt the main API of Meego?

    Is that why Google allows multiple apks for the same application? So, Intel devices can also use the same market? I would guess that each apk was compiled separately, so why not compile once more to get Intel support?

  • DroidSamurai

    I won’t count Intel out just yet, especially on the tablet front. Why? That’s because if everything goes as planned, every single Atom powered Windows 8 tablet can also be doubled as an Android tablet:

    It might actually help us as an Android user, because we may no longer depend on the tablet makers to update the OS.

  • heeros

    I wonder if Intel will be including Hyper Threading in this single core cpu, considering they had it in some of the first atom processors.

  • embeddednerd

    A x86 port of Android already exist…

    So does “optimized” mean that it’s Google’s stamp of approval?

  • Rushi

    Intel may be starting late in the cell phone market but as a tech company overall they have loads more experience with semi conductors and nano processing compared to the players in the cell phone market right now (HTC, Samsung, LG). They will catch up very quickly.

  • http://None CaribGrackle

    I welcome Intel gladly, the more the merrier, that’s how Android rolls.