Intel says it will provide a native Intel port of Android to developers within the next two months.
Google’s Android OS has proven spectacularly popular in the smartphone market with the company announcing that 160,000 Android handsets were being enabled per day, however Android was designed for ARM CPUs prevalent in portable devices such as these.
The move is significant because up to this point Microsoft Windows has dominated the Netbook category. Analysts have pointed at the emerging tablet market as a potential battleground of competing hardware and operating systems, by porting Android to x86 Intel paves the way for manufacturers to build netbooks and tablets using the low power X86 Atom processors.
Renee James, senior VP for software and services at Intel told APC magazine, “Our expectation is that (native x86 Android) will be based on the Froyo release and will be available this summer to developers."
The x86 port is planned to be released back into the open source repository for Android so that any interested party can effectively build upon Intel’s port. Since Android relies upon non-natively coded applications written in Java, in theory applications should run on Android independent of the technology of processor in the device.
The move follows on from Intel’s combative assertion in May that it would target smart phones with the Moorstown architecture. The effort to port Android to x86 might then be seen as less of a snub to Microsoft and more part of an ongoing strategy to combat the increasing dominance of competing ARM technology in the burgeoning Internet device category.