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Intel and Google have announced a new partnership that will see low-powered Atom CPUs and their successors running with Google's Android platform as the chipmaker attempts to launch itself into the smartphone market.
Intel executives stated at their annual developer conference on Tuesday that Android phones featuring Intel CPUs should be available in the first half of 2012.
Both companies say they will work together to optimize Android to run on the x86 architecture, a move that should speed up development and reduce the time to market of Intel based Android devices.
ARM based chips dominate the Android smartphone market. In contrast, Intel's architecture is unrivaled for desktop usage, but to date it has been rather inefficient in devices with limited battery life due to high power drain.
"The smartphone business is not established in terms of the ultimate shakeout of who's going to win and who is going to lose... You saw what happened in terms of how fast Android took share from Apple. So good products on good platforms can really still make a big difference in this industry," said Intel CEO Paul Otellini during his speech at the conference.
While Android should technically already support x86 architectures, the new partnership will make it much easier for manufacturers of Android devices to release their Intel-based products to the market. Until now it has been the responsibility of manufacturers to make the chips they use compatible with the Linux derived OS.
Intel hopes the close collaboration with Google will help win over manufacturers currently using ARM based chipsets by making the transition to Intel processors as painless as possible.