In an apparent move to gain some market exposure, Intel is porting Google’s Android 4.1 operating system, codenamed Jelly Bean, to work on smartphones backed by its low-powered Atom processors.
While the chip-maker neglected to mention a completion date for the port or a time frame for when the tasty new Android OS will be deployed in products, a spokeswoman for the company promised that they continue to work closely with Google to enable future versions of Android on devices packing Intel chips.
Currently, smartphones powered by Atom processors are hitting shelves with Android 2.3 under the hood, with a taste of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) said to be coming, though a date for the upgrade has not been provided yet.
Intel first made its dive into the ARM-dominated smartphone market with hardware from Lava International, Orange, and Lenovo featuring its Atom chips code-named Medfield, an integrated 32nm system-on-a-chip (SoC) that requires just three chips. Xolo, Lava’s Intel powered handset, was released a few months ago running Android 4.0 and is likely to get the upgrade to Jelly Bean when Intel completes the port.
Tablets will also be getting Intel chips with the Android OS later this year, with Vizio due to release a 10-inch slate featuring a Medfield chip. Though, the company’s next-generation Atom chip for tablets, code-named Clover Trail, is being targeted for devices running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 platform only.
While ARM continues to lead in the smartphone and tablet industry, with the ARM-based Google Nexus 7 tablet already running Android 4.1, Intel continues to attract developers, via contests and promotions, to write applications for Android on Atom processors to help gain market share.