Feeds

Google Android 'five weeks' from MIPS port

Embedded Linux 'standard'

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Motorola has denied putting Android on a set-top box. But it's only matter of time before someone else does the set-top thing with Google's, um, mobile OS.

As it announced Thursday, Embedded Alley is porting Google's Android stack to the MIPS microprocessor architecture, widely used in set-top boxes, HDTVs, and other devices you'd never mistake for a cell phone.

Google originally built Android for Apple-battling mobiles, coding the platform for an ARM-based chipset from Qualcomm. The world's first Googlephone - the T-Mobile G1 - is a Qualcomm device. But clearly, the stack is destined for a healthy life beyond the handheld.

As countless outfits entertain the idea of moving Android onto an ARM-based netbook, Chinese manufacturer SkyTone has actually announced one, a $200 to $250 machine dubbed the Alpha 680. And Acer has shown off an Intel Atom-based netbook.

Embbedded Alley has yet to complete its MIPS port, but chief executive Paul Staudacher told us that an end date is less than five weeks away. Before the end of May, the company will release its Android kit for building devices using the low-cost Alchemy chips fashioned by the Cupertino superconductor operation, RMI Corp.

"You'll certainly see people building connective media devices in the home, which MIPS has historically been so strong in," Staudacher said, pointing to set-top boxes and HDTVs. "We've already had many customers contact us to say that they're going to build these kinds of devices and that Android is an important thing to embrace here.

"There's more than a promise of a growing ecosystem. There's evidence that it's there and that adopting is happening." Other devices might include in-car systems, hand-held video players, and even medical tools.

William Weinberg - a Linux-obsessed consultant who's working Embedded on the MIPS port - argued that Android will become a kind of de facto Linux standard for both the netbook and the embedded markets. "Linux is doing exceedingly well in the embedded market," he told us.

"What's missing is that although there's a lot of basic commonality at the base of the stack - with Linux kernels and base libraries and some middleware - it's not sufficient commonality to be able to share applications."

In order to achieve such "commonality," he said, developers will flock to Android, an unusually extensive stack that's, well, backed by someone like Google.

"Android, being a tall stack with rich middleware for display and multimedia and a number of application engines and even applications, it provides so much for developers. It's a much more meaningful task to say 'I'm writing an Android application.' That's what's going on in mobile and that's what's making it attractive to manufacturers like RMI."

Android was open sourced under an Apache license that allows anyone to make use of it without giving code back to the community. But Staudacher said that Embedded Alley will eventually return its MIPS port to the appropriate repositories. "It's not the short term goal but it is our long-term plan," he said. "This [embedded Android market] is going to happen with our without us, so we might as well take the leadership position." ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?