Intel announces support for Android 2.3 on Atom E6xx seriesBy Jose Vilches
Intel's next generation of Intel Atom CPUs, the E6xx series, will finally support Android come January 2012. The company confirmed this in a promo video released yesterday outlining the low-power chip's features, where it particularly mentioned support for Gingerbread 2.3. Mind you, this is a version of Android designed to run on smartphones, but the E6xx isn't specifically a smartphone chip; it's designed for use in embedded systems.
The Intel Atom E6xx series is part of the family formerly known by the codename Queens Bay and was first introduced at the 2010 IDF, where the chipmaker touted them as being their first generation of processor-based SoC. Its primary applications as outlined by Intel include retail, fitness equipment, digital signage and in-vehicle systems.
Still, perhaps this marks a next step in the company's push toward mobile devices. Intel has already promised Intel-based Honeycomb tablets, but its efforts to get Android running on x86 hardware haven't seen much progress yet.
Earlier this year the company launched its Oak Trail platform, claiming over 35 tablet and hybrid designs from multiple manufacturers. Android 3.0 is expected to be a big part of Intel's tablet push, and apparently they are ready to throw in a $10 subsidy for each Intel-based tablet shipped to attract first-tier vendors into the Atom fold.
Meanwhile, ARM is dominating the mobile space by licensing its technology to third parties such as Nvidia and Qualcomm. Their chips have proven more customizable, more energy-efficient and more affordable than anything Intel has to offer right now.