Intel and Unity partner on Android x86 support

August 21, 2014 // 11:55 a.m.

Tags: #android #arm #atom #david-helgason #doug-fisher #game-engine #google #intel #middleware #soc #system-on-chip #unity #x86

Intel is continuing with its efforts to encourage adoption of x86 processors in Android devices, announcing a partnership with game engine specialist Unity to bring full support for its software to the platform.

Intel has previously admitted that its delayed entry into the mobile market has cost it dearly, and has been spending the last few years attempting to make up for lost time. Its latest Atom system-on-chip (SoC) designs look to level the playing field against industry incumbent ARM, but remain rare in shipping devices. Part of that is a chicken-and-egg issue relating to compatibility: Android app developers often fail to port their software to or test it on Intel's x86 chips because the pool of devices is so small, while manufacturers stick with the tried-and-tested ARM platform because app developers fail to port their software to or test it on x86.

That's something Intel is keen to change. 'We’ve set a goal to ship 40 million Intel-based tablets this year and expect more than 100 Android tablet designs on Intel in the market by the end of this year,' claimed Doug Fisher, manager of Intel's Software and Services Group. 'Our collaboration with Unity will give its nearly 3 million developers the necessary software tools and support to build amazing Android experiences on Intel architecture.'

Said collaboration will see Unity adding Intel-specific enhancements, including performance improvements across both CPU and GPU threads, to its eponymous game engine. Additional changes will also, Intel has claimed, make it easier for developers to build their software for both ARM and x86 Android devices 'with minimal extra effort.'

'Unity is used by half of all mobile game developers, and many of them have been asking for increased support for Intel-based devices running Android, claimed Unity chef executive David Helgason of the partnership. 'We are proud to be working with Intel to ensure that Unity provides the smoothest and highest performing experience possible on Intel platforms.'

More details are available on the official Intel website.

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