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MIPS launches developer site for Android and Linux

Apr 14, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 20 views

MIPS Technologies has launched a developer community website designed for Android and Linux developers working on MIPS-based hardware, including handsets and tablets. features open access to MIPS-tailored Android and Linux source code, an Android native development kit, debug and development tools including MIPS Navigator, plus resources including tutorials and support forums, says the company.

The new developer site represents the latest attempt by MIPS Technologies — traditionally strong in areas such as set-top boxes and networking equipment — to break into the consumer market. The company, which licenses semiconductor IP to system-on-chip (SoC) manufacturers, specifically mentions handsets and tablets in its announcement.

MIPS appears to be particularly interested in pushing its 32-bit chip technology to the Android-based mobile market, and is increasingly finding a foothold with Chinese technology firms (see farther below for background). home page
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Resources available on are said to include:

  • Android on MIPS source code, porting instructions, and native development kit (NDK)
  • Linux on MIPS resources including kernel source code
  • downloadable development tools including the MIPS Navigator Integrated Component Suite (ICS) integrated development environment (IDE) and GCC compilers for MIPS
  • how-to video tutorials for MIPS Navigator ICS including the "Multicore Debug Series"
  • access to EJTAG debugger tools
  • information about MIPS-based development boards
  • application notes and support forums for Android, Linux, and various developer tools
  • blog postings from MIPS development engineers on topics such as kernels, performance tuning, and debug tips/tricks
  • links to other MIPS community sites including and
  • information about other MIPS ecosystem companies and resources

Android (left) and Linux sites on
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MIPS is well-entrenched in the networking and industrial segments, selling its 64-bit processor IP to SoC manufacturers such as Cavium Networks and NetLogic Microsystems. NetLogic recently introduced a 40nm-fabricated, superscalar, eight-core addition to its family of MIPS64-based SoCs called the XLP832.

In recent years, however, MIPS has been more visibly pushing its 32-bit technology, where its main claim to fame is its position in the set-top-box (STB) market with SoC vendors such as Sigma Designs. MIPS helped support a port of Android to the MIPS architecture, a task that was completed in June 2009, based on Embedded Alley's initial Android to MIPS port. (Embedded Alley was since acquired by Mentor Graphics.) 

MIPS has been running with the Android theme ever since. At CES 2010, MIPS demonstrated numerous Android-based IPTV STBs and related products   — primarily using Sigma Designs processors. MIPS also had some more Android set-top news at this year's CES in January, announcing a new "SmartCE" platform based on Android, but its big news was the demonstration of a number of MIPS-based Android mobile devices, including two smartphones and several tablets.

Velocity's Cruz Tablet

The two unnamed smartphones shown at CES were in pre-production and were being developed by Chinese manufacturers. The first MIPS-based tablets, however, are already on the market. Velocity Micro's Android-based, seven-inch Cruz Tablets are all based on XBurst SoCs from Chinese semiconductor firm Ingenic, which announced at CES that it had officially licensed MIPS IP for its XBurst processors. MIPS also announced a licensing deal with a lesser known chipmaker called Action Semiconductor, also based in China.

Stated Art Swift, vice president of marketing and business development, MIPS Technologies, "This new community demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the vibrant open source effort around the MIPS cores and architecture, as well as around our customers' and their customers' hardware platforms."

Availability is live now, says MIPS.

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