Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Android moves into home equipment

MIPS Technologies has ported Google's Android operating system to its processor cores, aiming to drive the software, and Web applications, into more areas such as digital TV and set top boxes.
With Android and the open source development community around it, developers can easily and quickly create new applications and OEMs can leverage the growing set of applications for their devices, says MIPS. With the MIPS ecosystem around Android, OEMs will be able to quickly optimize Android for their specific platforms.
"In the future, almost every consumer device will be connected to the Internet and its wide array of content," said Rich Wawrzyniak, senior analyst for ASIC and SoC at Semico Research Corporation. "Leveraging Android to quickly and easily bring new and innovative applications and user interfaces to devices beyond the mobile phone is a very appealing proposition for consumers. Android also removes applications from their ties to specific hardware systems and opens the market for companies like MIPS Technologies to move into new market segments. I can understand why MIPS’ partners and licensees are excited about Android on MIPS. It is a potential game changer."

MIPS Technologies is establishing development tools and system integration partnerships with service providers to help its licensees with porting, integration, and testing. Partnerships initially include those with Embedded Alley and Viosoft.
Embedded Alley, a leading provider of embedded Linux solutions, is offering support for SoC implementations from MIPS Technologies’ licensees. The Embedded Alley Development System for Android-based Devices includes processor and board support as well as a version of the Android Dalvik virtual machine (VM) optimized for the MIPS instruction set and CPU cores; extending the Android bionic library, linker and other software infrastructure for the MIPS architecture; and providing integration and testing board support industry-specific device drivers, CODECs and other middleware. Embedded Alley is already enabling Android on devices built with the Alchemy Processor family from RMI—providing an Android-ready Linux kernel for RMI Au1250 and the Embedded Alley Development System for Alchemy reference platforms.
“Embedded Alley and MIPS Technologies have been working closely to deliver value to our mutual customers,” said Matthew Locke, COO, Embedded Alley. “Following the success of Android in the mobile phone market, many companies have been looking at the potential of Android beyond mobile handsets, but it just wasn’t clear how to make Android a reality for other types of devices. Embedded Alley, together with MIPS -- a strong leader in the digital home marketplace -- has determined what it will take, and we are making it happen. We are enabling OEMs and developers to create new Android-based designs."

Viosoft Corporation is a key partner for MIPS based software development tools. Viosoft’s Arriba tools deliver comprehensive support for single and multi-core platforms. The tools support Android, and are available today.
“The MIPS architecture has consistently delivered high-performance Linux platforms with low power consumption, making it ideal for VM-based environments such as Android,” said Art Lee, vice president of business development, Viosoft Corporation. “To enable the porting, debugging and deployment of the Android platform on MIPS, Viosoft provides a set of unique and very powerful tools that dramatically reduce development time, risk and costs. Working closely with MIPS Technologies, we are focused on helping OEMs quickly and easily bring their Android platforms to market.”

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