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Android on MIPS platform gains virtual emulator

Mar 5, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

MIPS Technologies announced the availability of new debug and development tools for its Android on MIPS development platform. MIPS is now offering the open source QEMU emulator, as well as Viosoft's Arriba development tools for QEMU, and has added a compiler and development GUI to its Android Native Development Kit (NDK).

Created by Fabrice Ballard, QEMU is an open source, virtualized machine emulator supporting target architectures, including x86, MIPS, ARM, and PowerPC. A "fully-integrated" set of Viosoft Arriba development tools for this Android-ready version of QEMU will also soon be available, supporting native and Java development for the Android on MIPS platform, says MIPS.

The company announced the availability of an Arriba for Android Porting Kit (APK) for the MIPS architecture in November, but the package did not include the QEMU support tools. The Arriba APK offers a suite of tools for porting Android to MIPS-based platforms, and includes Android versions of Viosoft's Arriba Linux debug and profiling tools, plus MIPS Technologies' System Navigator EJTAG probe. The Arriba Linux debug and profiling technologies provide a set of plug-in modules that offer insight into the Android software stack, including the Android System Level Event Analyzer, says MIPS.

MIPS has also upgraded its Android NDK for MIPS architecture, which enables developers to use native libraries with Android applications. The NDK is said to provide access to existing software libraries for devices such as MIPS-based set-top boxes (STBs), digital TVs, and consumer electronics, including gaming devices. The Android NDK now offers a compiler, as well as a graphical user interface (GUI) that streamlines the build process, says the company.

MIPS- and Android-based KDDI set-top prototype showing VOD interface

Last year, MIPS collaborated on a port of Android to the MIPS architecture, a task that was completed last June, based on Embedded Alley's initial Android to MIPS port. (Embedded Alley was since acquired by Mentor Graphics.)

At CES, MIPS demonstrated numerous Android-based IPTV STBs and related products — primarily using Sigma Designs processors — from Western Mediabridge, KDDI Home Jinni (pictured above), KatDC, and AllGo Systems. Last month, MIPS announced it was using Intrinsyc's RapidRIL software to develop 3.5G voice telephony capabilities for MIPS- and Android-based mobile devices, including smartphones. In two other Mobile World Congress announcements, MIPS said that mobile WiMAX chipmaker Beceem and 4G stack firm SySDSoft were working to enable LTE and WiMAX on MIPS-based processors.

Stated Art Swift, VP of marketing, MIPS Technologies, "We already have more than 3,000 members of the Android on MIPS community, with upwards of 40 new registrants each day. MIPS Technologies is leading the industry not only in bringing Android to a broad range of consumer devices, but also in making development fast and easy."


QEMU and the Android NDK for the MIPS architecture are available now, and the Arriba tools for QEMU will be available this month. All components are free-of-charge, says MIPS. More information may be found here.

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