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Google Android 4.0 mobile OS ported to desktop x86 chips

Open source project

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Google's open source Android 4.0 operating system for smartphones and tablets has been ported to work with x86 processors, a member of an open source project involved in the effort said this week.

The source code of Android 4.0.1, which is codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, is for developers and designed to work with tablets based on Advanced Micro Devices' low power x86 chips codenamed Brazos, which are typically used in netbooks and low end laptops. Some AMD chips are being used in tablets such as MSI's WindPad 110W.

The port means that tablets with Android 4.0 based on x86 chips could be on the horizon. Intel is the top x86 chipmaker, and the company has already said it is working with Google to bring Android 4.0 to smartphones and tablets.

The announcement was made on a discussion forum by Chih-Wei Huang, who belongs to Android-x86.org, a group of volunteer developers focusing on Android for x86.

Google released the source code for Android 4.0 earlier this month. However, most of the Android OS development has been centered around ARM processors, which are used in most smartphones and tablets today. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone with Android 4.0 has already been released, and ARM-based device makers are promising upgrades on tablets and smartphones to Android 4.0 from Android 3.x, which is codenamed Honeycomb.

The port of Android 4.0.1 to x86 is still a work in progress. The source code, which is available for download on Android-x86.org, provides Wi-Fi, multitouch and hardware graphics acceleration capabilities. It does not provide sound, camera, Ethernet networking or hardware acceleration for Intel-based processors yet.

MIPS, a competitive processor architecture to x86 and ARM, will also get Android 4.0 soon. A spokeswoman for MIPS Technologies, which licenses the architecture, earlier this month said the company was waiting for Google to open source the software so its engineers could port the OS.



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