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Wind River opens Android development center

Apr 18, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

In yet another sign Intel is moving quickly into Android, its embedded Linux software subsidiary Wind River launched a new mobile technology development center in Stockholm focused on Android. Meanwhile, the Intel-backed MeeGo project appears to be gaining some new life for its handset development, with LG Electronics, ZTE, and China Mobile filling the gap left by Nokia, says an industry report.

Wind River's addition of an engineering team in Stockholm, Sweden, represents its "concentrated effort to grow its Android expertise for a wider range of Android-based devices including tablets, media phones and other device classes," says the embedded Linux software firm.

The new Swedish group joins over 20 such Wind River development centers including offices in Austria, Canada, Germany, France, Israel and Romania, as well as centers scattered across the U.S. and Asia, says the Intel subsidiary.

In related news, Wind River announced that Jerry Ashford has recently joined the company as vice president and general manager of mobile solutions, reporting to Michael Krutz, vice president of worldwide solutions and services. Prior to joining Wind River, Ashford was vice president of the Emerging Markets Software Line of Business at Sun Microsystems and previously worked at Motorola, says the company.

Stated Ashford, "With the fast growth of mobile technologies such as Android, OEMs are increasingly under pressure to quickly develop innovative yet industry compliant mobile devices."

Android design wins touted

In the last year, Wind River "has achieved a significant acceleration in the number of mobile solution design wins and triple-digit growth in its mobile business segment," says the company. In particular, Wind River says it has achieved Android mobile project wins in China, citing a partnership with Via Telecom on a "Kunlun" reference platform for low-cost Android smartphones for regional original equipment manufacturers.

Kunlun was developed using Wind River for Android, which recently added Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb") support. In addition, Kunlun was developed in part with Wind River Framework for Automated Software Testing (FAST) for Android, an automated software testing solution. 

Wind River also noted its collaboration with Aava Mobile on a hardware-enhanced software developer kit for Android developers. Announced last July, with plans to ship in the third quarter of that year, the Virta software development kit for Android builds upon a previously announced Aava smartphone reference platform (pictured) that uses an Intel Atom Z6xx "Moorestown" processor and also supports the Linux-based, Intel-backed MeeGo operation system.

Intel tips toward Android…

In its announcement, Wind River mentioned it is working with Qualcomm and Texas Instruments on mobile solutions, both of which make ARM-based SoCs for Android phones and tablets. Yet, Intel is particularly interested in leveraging Wind River's Android smartphone skills as it attempts to push the Z6xx "Moorestown" and related Z6xx "Oak Trail" versions of the Intel Atom processor.

In fact, Intel is so keen on promoting Atom-based Android devices, the company is rumored to be planning a $10-per-device subsidy to encourage the creation of Android tablets using Oak Trail Atoms.

…while MeeGo gains new supporters

As it moves into Android, Intel is also pushing the Linux-based MeeGo for tablets and other devices, despite Nokia backing away from the platform for its smartphones. When Nokia backed away from the ARM smartphone portion of the open source platform in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, it was widely seen as having killed the MeeGo handset project, while some suggested the move would finish off MeeGo in its entirety.

Yet, by backing away, Nokia may have opened space for other supporters, says a Reuters report.

On April 15, Valtteri Halla, a member of MeeGo's technical steering group, told a developer conference that LG Electronics had joined a MeeGo working group to help further develop the beta handset version of the software, joining companies like ZTE and China Mobile, says Reuters.

LG is interested in trying out MeeGo for smartphones now that Nokia is no longer calling the shots on the project, said Halla. "It's opening opportunities for the others to come in," Halla was quoted as saying. "You'll see things coming out this year, pretty soon."

Halla worked on Nokia's MeeGo project, as well the earlier, foundational Maemo Linux software project, before recently being hired by Intel, says the story.

A spokesman for LG told the publication it was collaborating with MeeGo in various working groups, but had "no definitive plans to mass produce devices with MeeGo other than car infotainment systems."


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