Google to Optimize Android for Intel Chips


Google (NAS: GOOG) said it will optimize its Android platform for chipsets from Intel (NAS: INTC) for smartphones, giving a lift to Intel, which has struggled to break into the mobile market.

At Intel's Developer Forum event, Andy Rubin, Google's senior vice president and Android chief, took the stage to announce that all future versions of Android will be optimized for Intel's Atom-based chips, meaning the software will be able to run on Intel chips as well as many of the chipsets based on ARM Holdings architecture it currently runs on. Rubin said the optimizations will include everything from the core operating system to multimedia playback.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that the first Android smartphone running on Intel chips will hit the market in early 2012, and multiple handset vendors would produce Intel-powered phones. He also demonstrated an Android 2.3 device based on Intel's Medfield processor.

Intel has been working for years to improve the power requirements of its chips to better compete with mobile chipsets based off power-friendly architecture from ARM Holdings, which licenses its designs to Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM) , Nvidia, Samsung and Texas Instruments and others. Asked during a question-and-answer session at its developer event about Intel's stumbles in its attempt to get into smartphones, Otellini said: "We finally got it right." He explained that Intel has had to build chips that reflect a wide continuum of mobile devices, and that has taken time.

Intel recently denied rumors it plans to halt development of MeeGo, the open-source platform combining its former Moblin efforts with Nokia's (NYS: NOK) former Maemo platform. Earlier this year, Nokia inked a broad strategic partnership with Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) that positions the software maker's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system as Nokia's primary smartphone platform. Nokia's Windows Phone devices will run on ARM-based architecture.

In other chipset news, Microsoft used its Build conference to demonstrate its Windows 8 platform, which will also be run on tablets, and for the first time, on ARM architecture. (Windows has long run on Intel silicon.) However, ARM-based tablets will not be able to run classic Windows desktop-style applications, and will instead run a new type of application called "Metro-style."

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