ARM, MIPS step up their push for Android

ARM and MIPS aim to simplify and accelerate the use Google's Android OS on more types of devices

Processor makers ARM and MIPS Technologies are both aiming to simplify and accelerate the use of netbooks, MIDs (mobile Internet devices), set-top boxes, and picture frames that run on Google's Android software platform.

Earlier this week, ARM rolled out the Solution Center for Android, which provides software, training, and hardware to companies developing Android-based products.

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On Wednesday, MIPS announced the availability of the Arriba for Android Porting Kit for its processor architecture. The kit should help product developers adopt Android for their MIPS-based devices.

In seeking to break into the processor market for Android-based devices MIPS is behind ARM. Motorola's Droid, Acer's Liquid, Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10, HTC's Hero and Samsung's Galaxy all use ARM-based processors. They're also used in the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet.

MIPS hopes to take advantage of its stronger position in digital consumer devices, including set-top boxes, it said.

The company has made a number of Android-related announcements in the last few months, including releasing the MIPS source code for Android in August and becoming a member of the Open Handset Alliance in September. MIPS-based media players, Blu-Ray players and set-top boxes using Android have been demonstrated.

The use of Android in products other than phones will happen very gradually over the next three or four years, according to Richard Webb, directing analyst at market research company Infonetics. It will start with Internet-connected media players, he said.

Manufacturers of set-top boxes, for example, have to ask themselves what they can gain from using Android, Webb said. He foresees advanced remote controls that use Google's operating system.

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