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Friday, December 02, 2011
Android OS Headed To x86 Ptatforms

Google is coding the Android 4.0 operating system for smartphones and tablets to work with x86 processors, starting with support for AMD's Brazos chips.

Chih-Wei Huang, a member of an open-source project involved in the development of an Android a code base for the x86 platforms has released a list of downloadable testing ISO files of the Android "Ice Cream Sandwich" OS, optimised to work on tablets and laptops based on AMD and Nvidia chips, from Asus, HP, Dell e.t.c.

The port of Android 4.0.1 to x86 provides Wi-Fi, multitouch and hardware graphics acceleration capabilities such as OpenGL ES hardware acceleration for AMD Radeon chipsets. It does not provide sound, camera, ethernet networking or hardware acceleration for Intel-based processors yet. However, Intel is the top x86 chipmaker, and the company has already said it is working with Google to bring Android 4.0 to smartphones and tablets.

MIPS, a competitive processor architecture to x86 and ARM, will also get Android 4.0 soon.

In related news, Intel on Friday said it has readied Android 4.0 for smartphones and tablets based on its upcoming Atom processor code-named Medfield.

Intel's efforts to bring Android 4.0 to future Atom-based handheld devices is parallel to the developers backing the Android-X86 open-source project.

The company has clarified the support for the Android-X86 open-source project. However, Intel's drivers will be released to the open-source community only with device releases, in order to ensure a functional Android OS on devices such as smartphones and tablets. Intel submits x86 code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is run by Google.

For the record, Chih-Wei Huang's Android-x86 group is not part of Google?s official Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Instead, Huang?s initiative seems to be funded and supported by Intel rival AMD.

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