MIPS Advances its Android Plans--Outside of Phones

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 03, 2009

MIPS Technologies, which is well-known for providing processors and architectures for home entertainment, portable multimedia, and communications devices, is moving ahead with a number of initiatives focused on the Android operating system. Companies officials say explicitly that they want to take Android beyond just phone handsets, and two months ago MIPS ported Android to its architecture. Now, the company is making the source code for that port publicly available, as seen here.

MIPS has also initiated an Early Access Program "for a small group of key customers who will have access to specific hardware and code optimizations before they are publicly available." And, as EETimes reports, the company specifically wants to develop extensions for Android to support HD video displays, and bring Android to Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and digital TVs.

I've written before about Japan's Open Embedded Software Foundation (OESF), which is a consortium of powerful companies looking to bring Android to non-phone devices. According to MIPS:

"Together with ecosystem partners, silicon partners and working groups of the Open Embedded Software Foundation (OESF), an organization focused on driving Android beyond mobile handsets, MIPS Technologies is working to define standardized Android-based platforms for consumer devices such as set-top boxes, digital TVs, mobile internet devices (MIDs), home media players and VoIP systems. Having already demonstrated Android running on a home media player and on a DTV reference design, MIPS and its partners plan to demonstrate more solutions in the coming months."

When Google announced its upcoming Chrome OS, and clarified that it is headed for netbooks, while Android will remain more communications focused, many people assumed that Android would be aimed only at phones. It's clear from MIPS' and the OESF's initiatives, though, that Android will arrive in many other types of devices.

"We are seeing an enormous amount of customer interest in Android on the MIPS architecture," said Art Swift, vice president of marketing at MIPS, in a statement. "Android presents a compelling value proposition in bringing internet connectivity and a broad range of applications to MIPS-based digital home devices."