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Intel Porting Android 3.0 ''Honeycomb'' to x86

By - Source: Online PR Media | B 23 comments

Intel is porting Google's Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" over to its x86 architecture.

Tuesday during a conference call with reporters and analysts, Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini said that the company is currently hard at work porting Google's tablet-oriented Android 3.0 operating system (aka Honeycomb) to the x86 architecture. He added that Intel expects to ramp those Honeycomb-based devices over the course of the year "for a number of our customers."

Reports indicate that Intel will reveal its Android-based x86 platform sometime during Q3 2011 as "PRC Plus," yet Acer, Asus and Lenovo have reportedly already signed on to produce devices based on this particular platform, with manufacturing kicking off during the second half of 2011. Cisco will supposedly use the Oak Trail platform with Honeycomb for the enterprise sector.

"We...launched Oak Trail last week, which is a platform designed specifically for tablets," he said during the call. "We are seeing very good design momentum with Oak Trail across multiple operating systems. Over the course of this year, Intel will have tablet platforms that run Windows, Android, and MeeGo."

The news arrives after Microsoft revealed during CES 2011 in January that Windows 8 will run on the ARM architecture licensed to Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. However, just recently the Redmond-based company said that it won't release an official tablet product until the products can be "distinctive" even though the company plans to demo Windows 8-based tablets in June.

In addition to Microsoft and its partnership with ARM licenseese, the Windows 7-based Acer Iconia Tab W500 features AMD's Fusion platform and is already shipping here in the States. Chip rival AMD just recently admitted that it's now looking for driver development engineers to bring Google's Android OS to its Fusion platform.

There's no question that Intel has a long road ahead, entering a market saturated by ARM architecture-- a makeshift universe where smartphones and tablets are based on ARM and nothing is based on x86. Sure, current ARM processors can't compete with x86 in raw processing power. But x86 carries somewhat of a burden architecturally (it's ancient, for starters), and Intel doesn't have the incumbency advantage currently used in the PC sector. ARM is also a licensed technology-- as far as we know, x86 in the mobile sector isn't.

But Intel also plans to enter the smartphone market within the year, crashing the party with its upcoming 32-nm Medfield processor. "I would be very disappointed if we didn't see Intel-based phones for sale 12 months from now," Otellini said during the call. "We remain committed to success in the smartphone segment, and we're actively working with a large number of handset manufacturers and carriers around the world on Medfield-based designs."

Intel began production of Medfield back in February. The SoC will reportedly come packed with an Atom CPU and numerous specialized cores (HD graphics, etc.), and will supposedly have the longest active use time of any chip available in the mobile sector. Intel's previous mobile chip, code-named Moorestown, failed to find any traction in the mobile market.

As for Intel and its Android plans, reports on Wednesday indicated that the OS will be fitted to take advantage of the x86 architecture. Intel is reportedly "improving" Android's user interface and overall experience. More news is expected to arrive sometime during Q3 2011.

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  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , April 20, 2011 10:13 PM
    So basically, Intel has to figure out how to re-compile all of the Android operating system to the X86 instruction set?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 20, 2011 10:30 PM
    thats kind of what porting android 3.0 to x86 means
  • -2 Hide
    dogman_1234 , April 20, 2011 10:36 PM
    x86 needs to be ousted. Sure it is still modern, but there needs to be a more robust architecture now. We need to move on. Quantum physics won't play catch up with you Intel.
  • Display all 23 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    osxsier , April 20, 2011 10:44 PM
    Quote:
    x86 needs to be ousted. Sure it is still modern, but there needs to be a more robust architecture now. We need to move on. Quantum physics won't play catch up with you Intel.


    Spare me. Quantum computing is not coming to a desktop near you anytime soon.
  • 0 Hide
    jimsocks , April 20, 2011 10:50 PM
    what gonna happen to meego!
  • 0 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , April 20, 2011 11:02 PM
    danwat1234So basically, Intel has to figure out how to re-compile all of the Android operating system to the X86 instruction set?

    Just a guess, but they probably have the resources to handle that. Its just a version of linux after all.
  • 1 Hide
    KBentley57 , April 20, 2011 11:06 PM

    Quote:
    x86 needs to be ousted. Sure it is still modern, but there needs to be a more robust architecture now. We need to move on. Quantum physics won't play catch up with you Intel.


    Intel creates silicon with planted defects on the order of nanometers every day. They know quantum mechanics, trust me. In fact, modern processors use quantum principals already. You can't ignore the wave nature of electrons at these levels. Go learn something about science!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 20, 2011 11:21 PM
    They already showed phones running Gingerbread and Froyo in various trade shows and notably at WMC in Barcelona last February. So yes they must be building Android on x86 for a while now. x86 is NOT not robust. Intel entered late smart phone late, although when they were heavy in the flash business, they have far reaching influence in the early samrt phones. IMO Meego will be used on vehicle systems, set top boxes and anything that needs a customized UI.
  • 0 Hide
    old man dotes , April 20, 2011 11:24 PM
    spam spam spam spam spam eggs and spam. Apparently no one at TG ever looks at these comments.
  • 0 Hide
    otacon72 , April 20, 2011 11:33 PM
    dogman_1234x86 needs to be ousted. Sure it is still modern, but there needs to be a more robust architecture now. We need to move on. Quantum physics won't play catch up with you Intel.


    Quantum computing won't be mainstream in any of our lifetimes.
  • 0 Hide
    milktea , April 21, 2011 12:21 AM
    Competition is good. ARM vs Intel in the mobile market. Who will prevail? :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 21, 2011 12:46 AM
    lulz! the comments on this tread are priceless. Gee.. I wonder if they can run Java on x86? hmmm.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 21, 2011 1:41 AM
    danwat1234, it's not as simple as re-compiling. The x86 is a variable-length opcode CPU, while ARM uses fixed-length 32-bit instructions. The x86 is also an interrupt-driven architecture that relies on several off-chip components on the motherboard to achieve the full system. While this is true for ARM as well, it's not true to the extent it is with x86 as ARM CPUs are often SoC's (system on chip, which comprises everything on a single die, hence their lower power and lower total cost of ownership).

    Intel has not had a CPU that can meet the performance and power threshold held by ARM's highest-end CPUs. This is an attempt by Intel to use its x86 market dominance to enter the market currently dominated by ARM. And the sad thing is, it will probably work for them, which means far more expensive products for users as ARM CPUs have a license of less than $1 per CPU, and a manufacturing cost that is fractional to Intel's lowest Atom-based CPUs available today.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 21, 2011 2:57 AM
    I have to wonder why this is even being done. It reeks of pointlessness.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , April 21, 2011 12:41 PM
    Nvidia tried for a while to get x86 license, despite their claims of not wanting to enter the CPU market. When they gave up, they got ARM, a CPU chip. With Android going strong, future of it being mixed with Chrome OS, with Linux that can do anything, and with Windows 8 going ARM, Intel is guessing it's loosing value as x86 holder. Because many programmers have hinted at the CPU being just a controller of the rest of the operations, with the heavy muscle being put on the GPU. As it stands, Nvidia will manage to pull it into a perfect goal.
    Far fetched but still, a possibility, ARM might dethrone x86 completely, all applications being made to run on ARM+GPGPU. Intel needing to buy license to run ARM instruction set.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , April 21, 2011 12:47 PM
    It seems Intel has already an ARM license. :) 
    Still, having x86 so under control proves beneficial to them more than going the ARM way, my guess, and that's why they are trying to make Android go x86.
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , April 21, 2011 2:28 PM
    So Intel is porting Android to X86
    This announced after Microsoft said it will have Windows 8 running on ARM

    Is this Intel reacting to potential loss of sales by lurching to the opposition?
  • 1 Hide
    WyomingKnott , April 21, 2011 3:04 PM
    osxsierSpare me. Quantum computing is not coming to a desktop near you anytime soon.

    I think it's running on the chair at my desk, though.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , April 21, 2011 3:14 PM
    WyomingKnottI think it's running on the chair at my desk, though.

    Excellet!!

    Now we can say there is a problem on the quantum computer between the chair and the keyboard. Still I am only using your words, your quote is the really excellent one.
  • 0 Hide
    ProDigit10 , April 21, 2011 6:37 PM
    They would have made a better product if they ported Windows to ARM!
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