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Android ready to go beyond smart phones

Posted: 06 Apr 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Android? software? embedded systems? smart phone?

The ESC-Silicon Valley conference is expected to boost the effort driving Google's Android software into a wide range of embedded systems beyond the smart phone. The April event will host three presentations on using Android in embedded systems.

Mentor Graphics, which has developed a set of Android software development tools, will host two talks on Android for embedded systems, including one that will describe how Android or Linux can co-exist with a RTOS. A third talk will be hosted by Bill Gatliff, an independent consultant.

Use of embedded Linux has been on the rise for several years. However, the open source software is fragmented by a wide variety of distributions for different target systems.

Android has attracted attention as a broadly supported variant of Linux that could unify the field. In addition, Google has helped spawn an applications store for the environment aimed to compete with the popular service Apple offers for the iPhone.

The broad interest in Android for embedded systems became clear in early 2009 when a group in Japan formed to promote Android for systems including STBs and VoIP systems. Since that time, MIPS ported and enhanced Android for its processor architecture to ride the wave of interest in the software.

ARM and others have also rolled out specific programs to support Android on embedded systems. More recently, reports emerged that Intel and Sony are working with Google on Android-based software called Google TVs for Web-connected televisions.

Meanwhile, Android's presence in the core smart phone space continues to expand. Barclays Capital recently reported it expects three big vendorsSamsung, LG Electronics and Motorolawill roll out a total of about 50 new Android handsets in 2010. Google has already launched its own Android phone, the Nexus One.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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