Google designing Android for Intel chips

Upcoming versions of Android, the No. 1 smartphone operating system from Google, will be compatible with Intel processors, the companies announced at Intel’s developer conference on Tuesday.

“We want to make Intel architecture the platform of choice for smartphones,” Intel CEO Paul Otellini said onstage. “Every time we have collaborated with Google, good things have come out of it.”

The partnership will aid Intel in delivering on its promise to finally release smartphones with its technologies by the middle of 2012.

Google may benefit from accommodating a company that has significant influence in computers, which is the market Google is struggling to break into with its Chromebook project. The two companies already collaborate on that laptop operating system.

“The partnership has been great,” said Andy Rubin, Google’s executive for mobile development, who took the stage at Intel’s conference to announce the deal.

In his keynote, Otellini touted Intel’s Ultrabook concept, which the company has been reportedly nudging partners to embrace. The laptop concept facilitates very thin, light and affordable computers with batteries that can last for about a full day on a single charge. They look similar to Apple’s MacBook Air, which uses Intel’s Core processor.

Otellini also discussed a new processor, slated for 2013, called Haswell. Devices with the chip can remain connected to the Internet in standby mode for 10 days before the battery depletes, he said. Haswell will be tailored to Ultrabooks and tablets running Windows 8, the new operating system Microsoft was showing at the same time at its own conference in Anaheim, California.

“Computing means a lot more than just computers,” Otellini said. “Just as computing has evolved, so too has Intel’s architecture.”

Intel’s recent focus on reducing energy consumption, thereby improving battery life, should bolster its efforts in smartphones, analysts say. The company is also working on more compact chips, which it is calling “3-D transistors” because of the unique way the microscopic parts are situated.

Google and Intel did not say which chip will power upcoming Android phones or which manufacturers have agreed to make devices for it. Most smartphones and tablets use chips designed by ARM Holdings, which are popular for their efficiency. The next version of Android for phones and tablets, called Ice-Cream Sandwich, will debut next month or in November, Google has said.


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