updated 10:35 pm EST, Fri December 2, 2011
Intel says outside Android port fragments platform
The unofficial first Android 4.0 x86 port won't get help from Intel, the company's Google program lead Alec Gefrides said in an interview Friday. He noted to EE Times that the Android-x86 project, which is focused on bringing Android to traditional PCs, was largely a straight compile of the basic source code with generic PC support that wasn't Intel's focus. Intel was focused only on optimizing Android for Atom-based phones and tablets, and a spokeswoman added that supporting Android-x86 might fragment the platform further.
Gefrides was "happy" that Android-x86 existed, but by its nature, the project wouldn't have the drivers for the wide range of hardware on full-size PCs. There was also a concern that any improvements wouldn't be folded back into the official Android Open-Source Project.
Android-x86's creator, Chih-Wei Huang, was meanwhile frustrated with Intel's lack of support. However, he had received active support from AMD, ranging from hardware samples to advice from engineers. AMD isn't an official member of the AOSP and doesn't have much say over how the Google-blessed x86 port is made.
Regardless of AMD's involvement, Gefrides said Intel's work on Android porting was largely done and that plans for phones in early 2012 were largely on track. "We're just focusing on how to get the phones out as fast as we can," he said.
Intel has been hoping for chips in phones since the start of 2010. Its slowness in shrinking and optimizing the Atom, however, has let ARM take smartphones largely uncontested. Its Medfield platform and beyond will be the first versions efficient enough to fit into phones and truly mobile tablets, and were enough to get full Android support with Google's help.