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MIPS to release Android source code by August

Jun 9, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

MIPS Technologies announced that source code for the Android port to MIPS released by Embedded Alley last week would be made publicly available within 60 days. MIPS also joined the Open Embedded Software Foundation consortium supporting Android, and announced that VioSoft will support the MIPS/Android platform with its Arriba tools.

Announced in April, the MIPS implementation of the open-source Android stack was completed last week by Embedded Alley (EA). The port should continue to extend Android beyond smartphones, as well as the growing list of Android netbooks and MIDs that have been announced in recent weeks.

MIPS port: first RMI, then Sigma?

The Android port is initially targeted at the RMI (Raza Microelectronics) Alchemy-family Au1250 SoC, which is built around a MIPS core. It will eventually be modified to support MIPS-based SoCs from other vendors, says EA. Additional MIPS processors targeting consumer electronics, and set-top boxes (STBs) especially, are offered by vendors including Broadcom and Sigma. Judging from a testimonial quote on MIPS Technologies' new Android site (see link at the end of the story), Sigma appears to be actively planning its own push into Android.

According to MIPs Technologies, whose processor platform is especially strong in home consumer electronics equipment and Blu-ray Disc players, the Android/MIPs platform should be a strong fit for DTVs, mobile internet devices (MIDs), digital picture frames (DPFs), and STBs.

At the Computex show last week, MIPS displayed several prototype devices running Android on MIPs platforms, according to IDG News Service. Demonstrations were said to have included a home media player, a 10.4-inch LCD display with a keyboard, and a WiFi-enabled computer.

IDG's story quoted Kevin Kitagawa, MIPS director of strategic marketing, as saying that Android is likely to be widely deployed on MIPs devices. Reasons cited included the availability of predefined libraries and other standardized Java-based components that make it easier, especially for small developers, compared to working with standard Linux platforms.

VioSoft tunes Arriba for Android

MIPS ecosystem members are rallying behind the Android port, says MIPS Technologies. The company and its partners are said to be establishing development tools and system integration partnerships with service providers to help licensees with porting, integration, and testing on the platform.

In addition to the partnership with Embedded Alley, the company says it is working with Viosoft, which is supporting the Android/MIPS platform with a new version of Arriba. Available now, the new Arriba tools are said to support Android development on both single- and multi-core MIPS processors.

Viosoft has long supported the MIPS platform with its Linux-friendly development tools. Last September, MIPS announced it was integrating two of the company's Eclipse debugging plug-ins into its Linux development platform: the Arriba Linux Developer (ALD) and the Viosoft Linux Event Analyzer (LEA).

MIPS joins Android group

MIPS also announced it has joined the Open Embedded Software Foundation (OESF), an organization devoted to standardizing and developing Android platforms for embedded devices beyond mobile handsets. Established in February, the OESF, which has already sponsored Android ports to the Sharp Zaurus, is an industry group made up primarily of Japanese CE manufacturers and other technology companies aiming to use Android in a range of devices with embedded wireless capability. Possible devices are said to include STBs, VoIP phones, karaoke machines, security and monitoring systems, and digital picture frames (DPFs). Founding members include ARM, KDDI, Japan Cable Laboratories, Alpine Electronics, and Fujitsu Software.

Au Box

(Click for details)

The group first made news in March when industry reports claimed that Motorola and KDDI were preparing to launch a new Android version of their jointly developed Au Box STB in conjunction with the OESF. Motorola quickly denied the Android Au Box rumor, however. The Au Box is said to be named for KDDI's 30 million “Au” wireless customers, not the RMI Au1250 SoC. However, Motorola typically uses a MIPS-based processor for its STBs.

Stated Rich Wawrzyniak, senior analyst, ASIC and SoC, Semico Research Corp., “Android removes applications from their ties to specific hardware systems and opens the market for companies like MIPS Technologies to move into new market segments. I can understand why MIPS' partners and licensees are excited about Android on MIPS. It is a potential game changer.”

Stated Art Swift, VP of marketing, MIPS Technologies, “MIPS is excited to enable Android for the consumer electronics markets where we are traditionally strong, and also to proliferate MIPS into new markets — such as the emerging MID segment.”

Stated Art Lee, VP of business development, Viosoft, “The MIPS architecture has consistently delivered high-performance Linux platforms with low power consumption, making it ideal for VM-based environments such as Android. To enable the porting, debugging and deployment of the Android platform on MIPS, Viosoft provides a set of unique and very powerful tools that dramatically reduce development time, risk and costs.”


For more information on the Android for MIPS platform, see MIPS' new Android web-page, here. For more information on EA's MIPS/Android port and development platform for RMI, see our original in-depth coverage, here.

The IDG News Service story on MIPS' Android demos should be here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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