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Intel releases 'Beacon Mountain' Android-on-Atom dev tool

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Indroid Inside Intel has released “Beacon Mountain” a development environment for Android apps on both its own Atom silicon and ARM chippery.

Beacon Mountain emerged over the weekend, promising “productivity-oriented design, coding, and debugging tools for apps targeting … smartphones and tablets.”

The software's in version 0.5 and runs on Windows 7 or 8. A Mac version is promised and doesn't look far off: one of the demos in the Intel video about the software below runs on a Mac (and doesn't look like it is in a virtual machine).

The package includes Intel's:

  • Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager
  • Graphics Performance Analyzers System Analyzer
  • Integrated Performance Primitives Preview
  • Threading Building Blocks
  • Software Manager

The following third-party also make an appearance:

  • Google Android SDK (ADT Bundle)
  • Android NDK
  • Eclipse Integrated Development Environment
  • Android Design
  • Cygwin (for Windows operating systems)

The video below mentions the Motorola's RAZR I phone as one target for the development kit. It doesn't mention others, because Intel has infamously struggled to sell much silicon to mobile device makers. Chipzilla's page for smartphones lists models from Lava, Etisalat and MegaFon, names unlikely to get developers leaping to their feet to chase the next big thing.

Beacon Mountain is doubtless designed to change all that, by giving developers a free tool that reduces barriers to developing Android-for-Intel apps. That could, in turn, erode manufacturers' objections to Atomising their next round of handsets or fondleslabs.

Intel can also draw upon decades of experience working closely with operating system vendors to ensure a good experience when a general-purpose OS meets a diversified hardware market. But that experience was mostly gained working with Microsoft, which in the early days needed Intel almost as much as Intel needed Redmond. It's hard to see just why anyone working on Android today needs Intel. Google's already propelled Android to the lead without Chipzilla, as the likes of Samsung found they quite enjoyed the tender embraces of Qualcomm and other heavily-ARMed chipmakers.

Watch Video

In Intel's favour this time around is its new Silvermont microarchitecture, said to finally allow Chipzilla to compete with mobile chip specialists. Might the combination of better silicon, a decent development tool and just offering mobe-makers an alternative they can use to beat up their current CPU suppliers finally get Intel into a better mobile place? ®

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