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." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.