Tag Archive | "Android"

Intel Android Portal 01.org includes KitKat download for PCs

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androidonintelarchitectureThe Intel Developer Forum in Shenzen has just come to a close and I’m trawling through some interesting slides that were presented in the sessions. There’s a few articles queued-up but here’s one related to Android that is stimulating my thoughts about the future and battling with a very positive attitude I have about Windows following day 1 of BUILD.

Intel have set up a new Android-on-Intel site at 01.org and the latest AOSP build, 4.4 KitKat, is available for download.

First, here’s the relevant part of the IDF day 2 press release:

Intel’s broadening focus on Android includes a new, comprehensive device developer program that will be rolled out over the next few months. As part of the program, a device developer resource portal is available today as a one-stop shop for all Intel resources, including source code, documents and specs for Android on IA. Intel Build Tool Suite for Android will also be available in the coming months to automate the configuration and customization of Intel firmware and operating system images for new devices. Local resources such as builder training events, local support teams for developers and academic programs to train tomorrow’s designers are offered through the program.
Intel also released Android KitKat 4.4 with a 64-bit kernel optimized for IA. With this release, the company ported, validated and tested the Android Open Source code on IA, taking on the work that developers typically would need to do on their own. This release will provide the ecosystem with 64-bit kernel support for development of next-generation devices. Fisher said Intel will regularly make Android code for IA available as part of the company’s effort to speed up the device development process and improve quality.

As you can see, Intel are increasing efforts to court device and product manufacturers and to encourage them to put Android on the i86 platform.  From Baytrail to Core-based PCs there’s some interesting possibilities out there.

The latest download available is Android (open source project) 4.4 which has been built for two specific pieces of hardware. The Dell XPS 12 and the Intel NUC (*1)  which means there’s not much flexibility for us tinkerers but as time moves on, the builds will improve and become more generic so we’ll be able to start hacking together our own dual-boot systems. I’m particularly looking forward to a Baytrail-T build that could go on the 8-inch Windows tablets and the resulting community that would build around that considering the number of 8-inch Windows tablet sold recently.

A company that’s already doing this is  iConsole.tv  We spoke to Christopher Price about Android on Intel back at MWC and I came away thinking that gaming could be a great reason to boot into Android.  I contacted Chris again today and he had some interesting comments about the Android build:

“The Android-IA build is strictly for developers. Really this is about giving the community (startups and big companies alike) the tools to build the next generation of Android platforms and services for users on Intel processors. Ordinary people really shouldn’t use it – it lacks most of the user functionality that makes Android enjoyable. It’s big news, but it’ll be a few months before it trickles into tangible stuff for geeks and ordinary people alike.”

Having downloaded Android 4.2 and run it up as a live USB image on my Ultrabook here I can confirm it’s sparse. Naturally the Google service layer is missing but it would have been nice to see an alternative store installed. Maybe Microsoft/Nokia can give Intel a hand with the service layer through the Nokia-X project. It sure would be interesting to see a competitor to Google in the Android space although seeing as Android is a trademark of Google, that would probably result in the Open Handset Alliance exploding!

https://01.org/android-ia/downloads/2014/android-4.4.2r1-ia0

(*1) Does anyone know what the “NUC with Intel Centrino N2840” is? It’s mentioned on the download page. I assume they mean the Celeron N2820 NUC available for $140 shown on the right? I’m ordering one for testing here as soon as it’s available.

Intel announces a Dual-OS platform

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Just minutes ago at the CES keynote, Intel announced, briefly, that they have a dual-OS platform ready. Windows and Android on one device.

dual-os intel
The live demo worked!

 

We know little right now apart from the fact that the Android part will include additional security. In an on-stage demo the switch time was near-instant. Have Intel developed a better solution than ASUS, Insyde? Does it have a true dual-virtual container? The exciting thing is that Intel have the best access to hardware drivers so getting all the hardware mapped through to both operating systems could be easier.

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Samsung Pushes 12-inch ‘Pro’ Tablet, Running Android

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Multi windowing, collaboration, ‘full size’ virtual keyboard, digitizer, and performance with a 12-inch screen. Sounds like an Windows Tablet right? No, Samsung have launched the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, a 12-inch tablet running Android.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro

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Dual-OS ASUS Tablet Appears at FCC. How Do They Do That?

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Dual-OS. It’s a possible solution that could bridge the differences between Windows and leading mobile operating systems if it’s done right. ASUS already teased us with us the dual-OS ATIV-Q but it looks like there’s a smaller tablet offering coming. The M80T has been spotted going through testing at the FCC.

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The dual-OS variants are labelled M82T, L82T and R82T ‘Dual-OS’ and that, my friends, is really all there is to know right now.

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Ramos i10 Pro Could Run Dual-OS on Baytrail

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If Intel and friends can pull-off the dual-OS trick in a slick way they’ll have a valuable selling point and a ‘bridge’ between the app-gap in Windows and the consumer richness of Android. Ramos already have a set of Intel-powered Android tablets in China but the Ramos i10 Pro is said to be coming with a dual-OS option on a Baytrail core.

IMG_5365

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Intel Could Succeed in the Android Market with HDRC

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Back at IDF September, Intel and Google finally announced that they’d be working together to get Android up and running on x86 devices. While there were a number of Android-running x86 tablets and a smartphone prototype or two floating around IDF, it wasn’t immediately apparent what the major advantage of Android 0n x86 devices would be for your everyday consumer. In fact, it wasn’t even apparent exactly why any of the existing Android manufactures would  want to create x86 Android devices, given that up until now, pretty much all of their R&D has been focused on ARM devices. However, Intel may actually be perfectly positioned to be able to stimulate the growth of an upcoming segment of Android device — one which truly converges mobile and desktop functionality into one device. Chippy has coined such hybrid functionality: ‘High Dynamic Range Computing’ (HDRC), and the time might just be right for Intel to ignite this segment and find their own place in the Android market.

Before moving on, you might want to visit this link to see Chippy’s look at HDRC from last year.

Any consumer-available Android device that you can get your hands on today uses ARM architecture which is fundamentally incompatible with the x86 architecture that Intel products are based on. Android was originally built to run exclusively on ARM (though being open-source, some community projects were able to do some porting to x86). It wasn’t until several years after Android was on the scene that Intel and Google finally got together to work on full hardware-level Android on x86 support. That work is still ongoing. We’ve had our hands on Android devices running with Intel’s x86 architecture, but it is clear that there is still much optimization to be done. Once everything is complete though, won’t a device running Android on ARM be, for the user, indistinguishable from a device running Android on Intel’s x86?

If ARM has battery life, Intel has power. It’s an interesting dichotomy — we’ve watched as ARM-based devices have continuously scaled up to meet performance demands as the Android device market has grown. Intel has the opposite problem; they’ve got power, but have been constantly trying to scale it down to work with mobile at the tablet/smartphone level. Intel’s Atom series is a notable effort in the last several years to scale things back far enough that users could get reasonable performance and reasonable battery life out of a netbook. Once Intel can achieve the same thing at the smartphone and tablet level (and they’ve been working on this for years), they’ve got the expertise to push the processing end of things far beyond what we currently see from ARM — not to mention that the same x86 architecture that will be found in Intel-based phones and tablets is capable of booting full-fledged desktop operating systems.

If Intel plays their cards right, they could do very well in the Android market by stimulating the HDRC segment. HDRC isn’t really a mainstream thing at this point — most people have their desktop computer and they’ve got a smartphone and maybe a tablet. They view these two devices as fundamentally different. The promise of HDRC is creating a device that scales so well that it can converge these two categories of devices, which are viewed as different, into a single unit. This is a serious challenge because essentially it asks for a single device that is instant-on and has phone-like (all day) battery life, but, when plugged in, can be as powerful as one would expect from a laptop or desktop. Intel has the expertise for the high-end of the HDRC spectrum, we see this daily from the desktop computers that we work on. If they can combine this with phone/tablet-like low-power functionality, they could blow ARM out of the water and define the HDRC space that mobile technology has been steadily moving toward for the last 5 years.

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MSI thinking carefully about Pro Tablets and Windows 8 (+Video)

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MSI WindpadAs I tool a look at the MSI booth at CeBIT yesterday I couldn’t stop myself from getting a little hands-on with the Windpad 110W. AMD Fusion-based and equiped with a nice optical mouse pointer and full SD card slot it’s a tablet design that could rally benefit from the next-gen OS and platforms.

The MSI rep nods and smiles and I talk about 1366×768 and Windows 8, as we discuss the reason for having a mouse pointer in a 1KG tablet and how Windows 8 + Clover Trail W with a fast SSD could really bring usable low-cost productive tablets to end-users.

MSI won’t say anything about new products but they’re clearly thinking about this. In tact, I got the impression that they’re more interested in Windows tablets than in Ultrabooks which they tell me are not going to be broguth to the market until they have taken a longer term look at the Ultrabook market.

It’s a blast from 2011 to play with the Windpad again but I think that we’re going to see more of this later this year. Tablets, convertibles and, my favorite, the detachable Atom-powered Win8/Android screen and Intel Core-driven keyboard base station, all in under 1.5KG!

ASUS Padfone 2012. Hands-on with Phone, Dock and James Bond Pen!

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The Padfone has developed somewhat since we saw the magic at Computex 2011. We’re  now looking at the docking station (with 18Wh battery) and a cool little Bluetooth pen that acts as a headset.

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Acer A500 ICS Official Upgrade In April

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acer_iconia_tab_a500Good news for Acer A500 owners today and a relief to those that are worried about the ‘Android Update Alliance.’ There will be an ICS update coming soon.

There were already a few pointers that it would happen but nothing I could have put any trust in.  This message from ACER USA, makes it clear.

To all Acer Iconia Tab A500 and A100 users, please expect an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade in mid-April! Thank you for your patience.

There are ICS upgrade messages going out in Australia too.

April feels like a long way away but could be as little as 6 weeks. With Chrome for Android highlighting how important it is to get updated now though, I know how frustrating any wait can be.

A500 ICS Chrome (1)I’ve been testing ICS on the A500 for the last week via a Thor ROM. It’s given me the chance to see how Chrome for Android is performing and I have to say, it’s very good. The sync features are worth having and the quality of rendering and input handling means I was able to edit a post on the WordPress web-based tools, work with Google Plus and generally get productive with web-based applications.

Unfortunately the ROM isn’t that stable for me so I can’t really say I’m running with ICS. Stumbling more like!

Via Tabtech

Chrome for Android – The Turning Point For Android Tablets

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Chrome for Android has just been launched.

Many of you know I run three sites. Carrypad, the tablet-focused site. Ultrabooknews, the thin-and-light laptop site and this one, UMPCPortal.  At UMPCPortal we’ve been focused on productive mobility since 2006 (almost exactly) and as you will probably know, the last few years have been hard on us. Trying to get productivity into a two-handed mobile experience has been completely ignored by mainstream manufacturers. We’ve all tried tablets of course and all been disappointed at the lack or processing power, lightweight apps and of course, the full web experience which requires a full web browser. Mozilla tried with Firefox for Android but didn’t really get there yet. Most people settled on Dolphin HD as the best of the bunch but it wasn’t anywhere near the experience needed for web-based productivity and creation.

Intel offered us some hope with Meego, an optimised Linux-based OS that included a Chromium browser…

MeeGo offers me some hope. A full internet experience and an app store but it’s something needs to mature until at least late 2011 and in fact for it to function fast enough to be productive it will need a high-end dual-core ARM or Intel Moorestown platform that will not be able to provide all-day battery life in a smartphone form-factor. [ref June 2010]

… but we all know what happened there.

And then along came the best smartbook yet. The Asus Transformer Prime has fantastic looking hardware, 18hr battery life (with leyboard dock) and some great sensor, touch and app experiences. The problem was that it also had issues when addressing productive and creative work. The apps are still thin and the browser still terrible.

But there was nothing else to choose from. Until today that is.

Chrome for Android has been launched. It’s in the Android Market for anyone with an Android Ice Cream Sandwich device and it’s fully functional. Well, it seems to be. This Beta software may have a few bugs but it represents the best step yet towards a productive handheld ‘UMPC’ solution. There will still be problems with low-quality, unstable and badly supported native apps,  but Chrome on Android is going to develop fast, encourage a new market for Android tablets and  enable a whole new world of desktop-quality browsing.

There are early issues. Mouseover doesn’t seem to be working well and there could be performance issues related to the (relative to laptops) lack of CPU, memory and general platform speed but these are likely to be fixed very quickly given the effort Google is putting into its browser.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t have an ICS tablet right now. I will be looking for ‘ROM’ upgrade for the Acer A500 I have here as it supports USB host (for keyboards/mice etc) and would work well as a smart, Chrome-based desktop device but that could take a few days before I get round to it. Maybe I’ll be looking for an ASUS Transformer Prime though. Given its smartbook credentials and Chrome for Android it now has the potential to span Carrypad, UMPCPortal and Ultrabooknews!

A quick note on the Android 4.0 requirement. I think it’s a brave bu neccesary move. It means that only ‘Google Android’ gets the best browser and encoruages a big shift to ICS over 2012. it might be annoying for some now but it makes absolute sense to encourage a move away from 2.x and 3.x variants and get everyone moving with ICS. When that happens, ISVs will be far more likely to invest in high-quality tablet application development and that’s where the turning point comes. Following the turning point, the niche designs will jump in too. There’s every chance that we’ll start to see UMPCs again…running Android. I know you’ll be concerned with security, apps, interfaces and such but I feel sure we’ll see those issues solved. The market for alternative designs is going to grow quickly so watch out for a fresh batch of UMPC news!  It also makes Apple think hard again about a smartbook although my guess is that they have been working on one for a long time already.

Don’t forget that this app is very likely to be in development for X86 devices too. Intel will be putting massive effort into getting this optimised for Medfield-based devices. Comparing Sunspider tests, hopefuly at MWC later this month, will be fun!

I’m interested to hear your thoughts below. I’m sure we’ll have a good discussion.

Updates:

Noted – There’s no Flash support. I’m not sure too many are going to have a problem with this and it sends an important message out to web developers – Stay clear of Flash!

There seems to be a problem with agent-id. I’m reading that Chrome for Android is identifying itself as a mobile browser.

With Medfield and Android, Intel Prove They’re Ready to Play

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Intel_Smartphone_Reference_Design_front_575pxWhen I tested an Intel Menlow-based MID in July 2008 and saw the PC architecture streaming music into a browser-player running at 2.8W I knew Intel were on the right track. Two years later with their next-gen architecture, Moorestown, they tackled the standby power drain and managed to get it into a phone. I had exclusive hands-on and although the device was hot and eventually deemed uncompetitive, it was clear to see where this was heading. This week at CES I put my hand on the back of an Intel Medfield-based smartphone and felt nothing. No heat! On the front, I saw a quick user experience and when I tested Sunspider I saw an impressive result of 1290ms, with Android 2.x.

Over at AnandTech, meanwhile, Anand has been discussing more details about the performance and energy consumption figures.  Not only are we seeing good performance but Intel are telling us that the efficiency is in the leading class too.  The most impressive figure on the article? 1W browsing. That’s with screen-on and 3G-on. 1 WATT! Intel are now able to control a ‘PC’ to the point where everything turns off except the parts required. That doesn’t mean that Intel will be competitive in all areas though. Like Ultrabooks, the platform is likely to have a high ‘dynamic range’ and probably a higher system thermal design characteristic but if the work that Intel have done on Android is solid, that may not be a problem.

What a shame though that Meego wasn’t around to benefit from Medfield. I’m sure there are Meego devices in the Intel labs working just fine and I’m sure that Tizen is likely to re-surface too (My bet – Samsung + Intel + Tizen make an announcement at MWC) but it would have been nice to see Intel’s Meego work result in a product. I wonder how Nokia are feeling at this point? With the N9 having been a success and the figures on Medfield/Android looking good, Intel may get sweet revenge!

P1010989 (800x600)What Intel need now are product partners and platform advantages. Being competitive isn’t going to be enough to make the best product in the market so this is where 1080p hardware encoding, hardware-based image processing, Wireless-Display, McAfee and other technologies come into play. Intel Insider (for securely streaming first-run movies) and integrated radios, hardware encryption and of course, Intel’s silicon process advantage. if you consider how far Intel have come in the last 4 years, look at their technology portfolio and think about what’s going to happen in the next two years there should be no doubt that Intel will be playing, and possibly leading in the years to come.

I won’t discount Cortex A15 and similar ARM architectures and we must not forget that ARMv8 is going to be feeding in after a few years but Intel’s position with Medfield now enables it to go and court some of its biggest customers for phones, tablets, set-top boxes and more and that partner ecosystem could be the real advantage for Intel.

Lenovo Ideatab K2110 Tablet – Overview Video and Interview

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I was taken completely  by surprise this morning  when I was told that the Intel Medfield-based tablet running Android ICS at the Intel booth today is in fact the Lenovo Ideatab K2210 due later this year. Wow! Is it finally going to happen?

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