Android invades hardware

The Armadillo-500 from Atmark-Techno may be the first hardware platform to run Android

Google's Android developer kit for mobile phones has been successfully installed on several hardware devices, a step toward turning it into a genuine mobile-phone platform.

The Android Software Developer Kit (SDK), first released in November, has been developed by Google and others as part of the Open Handset Alliance with the goal of spurring innovation in the mobile space. The platform, based on the Linux 2.6 kernel, will comprise an operating system, middleware stack, customizable user interface and applications.

Google released the preview version of Android without support for actual hardware - instead, developers were given a software emulator based on Qemu. However, running the software on actual hardware can give developers a more accurate idea of how their applications will run.

And while the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) has more than 30 corporate members, open source developers are crucial to the project's success. Google released the SDK with a few demonstration applications, and is relying on third parties to come up with the rest.

Some developers have indeed criticized the OHA's hands-off approach, criticizing the lack of support for developers as well as bugs and missing functionality.

Possibly the first hardware platform to run Android was the Armadillo-500 from Atmark-Techno, based on Freescale's i.MX31L mobile processor, according to a blog post, which credited Australian developer Ben Leslie for the initial work.

Japanese telecommunications company Willcom has demonstrated another prototype Android reference board, also running on a Freescale-based chip, according to a Japanese gadget news website.

Fujitsu has published instructions on running Android on one of its reference boards.

Several developers said they had used Leslie's development work to run Android on different versions of Sharp's Linux-based Zaurus handheld computer.

One of these was software development firm EU Edge, which demonstrated Android running on a Zaurus SL-C760.

Another developer used a similar technique to run the platform on a Zaurus SL-C3000.

Installation has become easier via an installable Android image for Zaurus. A developer using the handle "cortez" and running a Zaurus SL-C3100 combined the Android SDK with the Poky Linux kernel, creating an installer that can be booted within a few minutes.

So far the Zaurus implementations have certain limitations - for instance, Android's Bluetooth doesn't yet work with Zaurus, and it can't yet interact with the handheld's touchscreen.

Google hasn't yet announced support for an official hardware development board. The first commercial handsets running Android are expected in the second half of this year.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?