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Intel moves Android to Atom

Intel moves Android to Atom

Google's Android is now available in an x86 flavour, developed by Intel for smartphones running its Atom chips.

Intel has announced that it has successfully modified Google's Android operating system for use on its Atom range of x86 processors.

While Google's Linux-based OS has been getting increasing interest of late, it has previously only been available for ARM architecture processors - which is fine for the smartphone world, but slightly restrictive for those who plan devices which deviate from the standard use of the pretty ubiquitous ARM processor.

Intel, obviously, has a vested interest in encouraging as many OEMs as possible to make the move to using its processors - and in this case it's taken the effort to ensure that those hoping to release an Android-based smartphone in the future will be given the option of either ARM or x86 architecture for their next device.

Interestingly, the move isn't part of the increasing use of Android on netbooks - often termed 'smartbooks' to distinguish the streamlined and cut-down interface offered by a platform originally designed for installation on a 'phone - but rather forms Intel's arguments for the use of its Atom processor range in smartphone handsets.

InfoWorld quotes Intel general manager Renee James - speaking to press at the Intel Development Forum in Beijing - as stating that the project is part of Intel's plan to "enable all OSes for Atom 'phones."

Do you believe that the Atom processor - often derided for its poor performance - could find a comfortable home in the smartphone sector, or are they just too power hungry compared to the equivalent ARM chips? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

12 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
rickysio 14th April 2010, 13:44 Quote
Would still prefer MeeGo over Android in either case - but I'm sure the droid fanboys will disagree strongly with me! Our usage patterns probably differs too much.
javaman 14th April 2010, 15:09 Quote
what can android specifically offer netbooks that another version of linux already offers?
rickysio 14th April 2010, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
what can android specifically offer netbooks that another version of linux already offers?

Nothing much - Intel probably did this as a proof of concept of sorts - that it wasn't that hard to switch from programming for ARM to x86?
samkiller42 14th April 2010, 15:57 Quote
@Javaman, Android is mainly for Phones, Chrome OS is for Netbooks, and People like myself who really dislike Linux will prefer to use Chrome/Android on their device over Ubuntu or something similar (Sorry, can't think of any other Linux Names of hand)
Alternatively, people will take an Android handset (HTC mainly) over the iPhone, Blackberry and other phones as it's far more customisable than those mentioned.
That's my view on it anyhow.

Sam
rickysio 14th April 2010, 16:35 Quote
And people will take a MeeGo handset over the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and other phones, as it's far more customisable than those mentioned...? Full linux vs cut down linux, full linux wins in customization opportunities. Seriously, x86 is still too inefficient for phones now - they're still suited only for MID, where MeeGo really shines. Using Android after Fremantle (Maemo 5) was like switching a i7 system (Maemo 5 on N900) for a Core 2 based (2.1 on Nexus One) system. Sure, in day to day tasks they perform similarly, but when the system is under load, the i7 system pulls ahead. Then again, this is too my view. I expect that quite some will disagree, but some will agree.

Apparently Intel is trying to attract as many companies away from ARM (Away from TI and Qualcomm) as possible. Sorry Intel, perhaps make a more power efficient yet computationally competitive processor first - as it stands, the OMAP platform draws much MUCH less power at full load (0.75W for entire chipset) than your most efficient processors (going off Intel's website, 5.5W for the N450 processor ONLY) yet, and yet they still remain capable of rendering flash and other items smoothly, much unlike your Atom processors...
Dave Lister 14th April 2010, 17:55 Quote
Can intel not get into making the arm cpu's or is there some licence problem like x86 has ? Because I really think x86 has had its day now.
Anyway more on topic, I think the more operating systems being developed the better. I'd love to try a smart phone OS on my netbook, especially since windows xp support wont be lasting that much longer and regular linux is too much of an arse pain to figure out.
docodine 14th April 2010, 19:52 Quote
Android X86 is nothing new, it's been ported for a while now.. I had it running on my Eee PC for a few months if anyone remembers my sig. Works great for internet browsing but nothing more.
TheUn4seen 14th April 2010, 22:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by samkiller42
@Javaman, Android is mainly for Phones, Chrome OS is for Netbooks, and People like myself who really dislike Linux will prefer to use Chrome/Android on their device over Ubuntu or something similar (Sorry, can't think of any other Linux Names of hand)

So you dislike Linux despite the fact that you can't even name more than one distro and probably never even saw that distro live? And in the same sentence you state that you would prefer Chrome or Android, despite the fact that those are just other Linux distros. Man, you are ignorant.

And on the topic - screw Intel. x86 is too old for anything, it's holding just because people like our dear ignorant friend above don't know about any alternatives and continue to accept outdated, ridiculously inefficient architecture just to be able to use their precious Windows. If Microsoft would release win7 for ARM or Linux would start getting serious attention (and this is beginning to be true), Intel might find themselves trapped in a dead end with their crappy CPUs. And nobody will sell them license to mass-produce ARM cpus because they would instantly begin cheating (that's where Intel shines - dirty market practices) and try to monopolize that market too.
aussiebear 15th April 2010, 02:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by samkiller42
@Javaman, Android is mainly for Phones, Chrome OS is for Netbooks, and People like myself who really dislike Linux will prefer to use Chrome/Android on their device over Ubuntu or something similar (Sorry, can't think of any other Linux Names of hand)
Alternatively, people will take an Android handset (HTC mainly) over the iPhone, Blackberry and other phones as it's far more customisable than those mentioned.
That's my view on it anyhow.

Sam

Your view is a little hypocritical and ignorant...If you really dislike Linux; why are you bothering with Chrome OS or Android to begin with?

Chrome OS is itself; a Linux distro customised for an online user that actively uses Google's web services. (Its a cloud computing platform where the user is highly dependent on Google for system updates, OS security, etc.)

By the way, this very site runs on a host that uses Linux. You better avoid this place!

Google, Youtube, blip.tv, flickr, twitter, Dailymotion, NASA, European Space Agency, CNet, ArsTechnica, etc uses Linux...So you better avoid visiting them as well!

Akamai.com...Which mirrors/caches content for clients like Intel, AMD, Microsoft (even their Bing search engine), Adobe, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple, Gametrailers, etc also uses Linux. Which means you should also stop going to ALL of them!

446 of the top 500 supercomputers in the world uses Linux. Even the Large Hadron Collider!...So you better avoid anything that benefits from their scientific research!

You better also check your router/firewall; because that maybe using a variant of Linux as well!

I don't dislike you...I just dislike your ignorance.
Quote:
Do you believe that the Atom processor - often derided for its poor performance - could find a comfortable home in the smartphone sector, or are they just too power hungry compared to the equivalent ARM chips?

Intel Atom is much suited for low powered PCs and certain areas of the industrial embedded market. I don't think their solution (in its current form) is suitable for smartphones...Especially where battery life and power consumption in a small footprint is concerned.

ARM's current Cortex A8 has a weak FPU, but it takes the power consumption area. (The FPU issue is being addressed with the next generation Cortex A9 design.)

As time goes on, I don't doubt we'll see an inevitable x86 vs ARM war. (As ARM processors get more powerful; while Atom reduces its power footprint with future die shrinks and improvements.)
rickysio 15th April 2010, 08:10 Quote
In either case we consumers win.
DbD 15th April 2010, 10:22 Quote
Interesting, if they continue this way and port to google chrome OS too this actually starts to break the wintel hold as effectively you can now use an x86 cpu without windows, and an x86 friendly OS without the x86.
rickysio 15th April 2010, 10:56 Quote
@DbD

OS and programs are two different things. An OS might be capable of running on both x86 and ARM, but programs need to be recompiled for both - or take a performance hit with an emulator. By your logic since OSX and Windows are both OS that run on x86 processors, then OSX should be able to run Windows program natively.

Obviously, this isn't so. The wintel hold is still strong.
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