SAN JOSE, Calif. - MIPS Technologies Inc. said that it has ''official source access'' to Google's Android 3.0, also known as “Honeycomb.”
MIPS Technologies is now porting this newest version of Android to the MIPS' architecture. This will accelerate development of tablets and Google TV products based on the MIPS architecture.
"This is a big deal and puts to bed any thoughts that MIPS will be excluded from the Android ecosystem," said Paul McWilliams, editor of technology investment newsletter Next Inning Technology Research. "It also gives MIPS significant leverage since very few semiconductor companies have direct early release access."
“The Android platform has been a game-changer for MIPS Technologies,'' said Art Swift, vice president of marketing and business development, MIPS Technologies, in a statement.
''When we first began working with Android, we focused on opportunities in devices beyond the mobile handset, and indeed we have already seen MIPS-Based televisions, set-top boxes and other products in the market based on Android,'' he said. ''Android also opened the door for MIPS to enter the mobile market, and we recently showed the first MIPS-Based handsets and tablets.''
Last month, Swift posted a blog responding to reports that Google was considering standardizing its Android operating system on the ARM architecture. Processor intellectual property licensor MIPS is fully involved in Android antifragmentation efforts and is one of many companies invited to participate by Google, according to Swift.
If Google attempts to define a standard hardware platform as well a limiting software freedoms, the move could hurt Intel, MIPS and others, which are attempting to move into mobile device space with its processors.
Android already runs on ARM architecture processors in the vast majority of cases as ARM is the dominant smartphone architecture. However, as the operating system, middleware and applications stack is supposedly open-source and based on a modified Linux kernel and the Java language it is in theory applicable to any processor, including MIPS and the Atom processor.
MIPS also reported consolidated financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2011. Revenue was $20.0 million, a year-to-year increase of 15 percent. It reported a profit of $3.365 million, or $0.06 a share, in the period, compared to $3.061 million, or $0.07 a share, a year ago.
Revenue from royalties was $13.4 million, an increase of 11 percent from the third quarter a year ago, driven by a 20 percent increase in units. License revenue was $6.6 million, an increase of 23 percent from the $5.4 million reported in the third quarter a year ago.
"We announced the first MIPS-Based mobile handsets and tablets during the quarter, and also received our first mobile-related royalties for these devices. These are significant milestones for MIPS as we continue to make inroads into the mobile device market," said Sandeep Vij, CEO of MIPS, in a statement.
McWilliams said MIPS' license revenue and royalty revenue came in below expectations, causing the company to miss expectations for the first time in at least four quarters. "This is bad news,"McWilliams said. "It's disappointing and it is reason to lower our forward estimates, at least until we get more clarity. However, it most certainly doesn't mean the wheels have fallen off the bus."