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Android SDK targets Atom Z6xx smartphones

Jun 2, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Finnish mobile firm Aava Mobile has announced what appears to be the first Android development platform for the Intel Atom Z6xx (“Moorestown”) system-on-chip. Virta Android is billed as a hardware-enhanced software developer kit (h-SDK) for developing Android applications for Z6xx -based smartphones and tablets.

The Virta h-SDK hardware platform appears to build upon the same Aava smartphone reference design announced in February for Intel's Moorestown CPU, which has since been announced in its initial form, the energy-efficient Intel Atom Z6xx.

Like the Z6xx system-on-chip (SoC), the Aava platform was said to support Moblin, Android, and the Moblin- and Maemo-based MeeGo Linux distribution. Only Moblin support was initially offered by Aava, but since then, an Aava phone has appeared at the MeeGo project as an early MeeGo reference target for Z6xx-based smartphones (along with an ARM-based Nokia N900 design).

Aava Mobile's Aava phone design

(Click to enlarge)

The Virta Android version of the Aava phone comes pre-loaded with a tailored Android SDK ported to Atom Z6xx processors, says Aava Mobile. Virta Android is cross-compatible with all current Android SDK software, and was developed in cooperation with Intel and its software subsidiary Wind River, which validated and hardened the SDK for Android, says Aava Mobile. Application developers Ixonos and Teleca are said to have begun using a beta version of Virta Android.

The "fully functioning" Virta Android Aava phone comes with a 3.8-inch 864 x 480 capacitive touchscreen, accelerometer, GPS, and haptic feedback, says Aava Mobile. The phone ships with both a two-megapixel video and an eight-megapixel still camera.

The Aava phone includes a modem supporting GSM/EDGE quad band and WCDMA triple-band (band I, II, and V), as well as WiFi, and Bluetooth, says the company. (For much more information on the Aava reference design, including a full spec list, please see our earlier coverage, here.)

Z6xx background

After a long build-up, the first "Moorestown" processor, the Z6xx was finally announced in early May. (A second, Windows 7-focused "Oak Trail" version was recently tipped by Intel, and is said to be due in early 2011.)

The Atom Z6xx supports battery-powered devices that offer more than 10 days standby, two days of audio playback, and up to five hours of video playback, claims Intel. The Z6xx offers 1/50th the idle power consumption of the original Z5xx Atom, as well as 1/20th the power consumption for audio playback, claims the company.

Z6xx power usage during web browsing and video playback is claimed to have been cut by one half to two thirds. The SoC is said to range from clock rates of up to 1.5GHz for handhelds and smartphones and up to 1.9GHz for tablets.

Wind River Platform for Android

The Virta Android software SDK is said to be based in part on Wind River Platform for Android, which began shipping in December. Initially optimized for the Texas Instruments OMAP3x platform, the SDK offers interface extensions, an automated test framework, plus pre-integrated Adobe Flash, PacketVideo OpenCore, and Red Bend FOTA software, said the Intel subsidiary at the time.

Collaborating both with Aava and with Google (on the latter's Google TV set-top and TV platform), Intel appears to be serious about opening up the Atom as an Android platform. At the same time, the chipmaker is the primary force, along with Nokia, behind the competitive MeeGo operating system.

Both the Virta Android SDK and Google TV appear to represent the first commercial-level ports of Android to an x86 platform, although in the case of Google TV, Intel is starting out with the Atom-based CE4100 SoC instead of the Z6xx.

Stated Chris Buerger, senior director of product management at Wind River, "Aava Mobile licensed the Wind River Platform for Android to meet developers' needs by offering a reliable software foundation that is highly optimized for the Intel-based device's baseline capabilities."

Stated Andrew Till, VP of solutions marketing at Teleca, "We've found Aava's SDK to be very stable and compelling experience while the addition of a functioning smartphone as part of the SDK enables us to test UI and usability issues in a real world setting."


Aava Mobile's Virta Android h-SDK is due to ship in the third quarter, says the company. The h-SDK can be pre-ordered today, here.

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