Intel is going to ship a native x86 version of the Linux-based Android 2.2 operating system for use on netbooks and tablets. Renee James, Intel's SVP for software and services, told APC that she expects developers will get the opportunity to play with it this summer.
It's an important step that will have Microsoft looking nervously over its shoulder, as it will see Google's mobile OS, already very popular on smartphones, moving to the PC standard x86 architecture.
Android was originally built to run on ARM chips in smartphones, but Intel has been beavering away at adapting Android's open source code to run as a native x86 operating system. This makes sense, as it will allow Intel's partners to use its Atom processor for Android-based devices.
It might deal a blow to ARM chip designs already seen on smartphones and other small devices.
So far Microsoft has dominated the netbook market based on Intel's Atom processor, while Android has mainly focused on ARM processor-based smartphones. But getting an x86 version of Android 2.2, code named 'Froyo', might help Intel's Atom chips make inroads into the smartbook market, and possibly even enter the smartphone market as well.
As The INQUIRER revealed at Computex, Intel and Google are already working on a Atom-based smartphone that will run on a yet to be identified release of Android.
By Asavin Wattanajantra