A recent demo spotted at CES by Laptop Magazine shows Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) running on an MSI WindPad 110W, hacked from its original Microsoft Windows state and using a port from Android X86.
The WindPad 110W runs on AMD’s Brazos platform, and at least from the demo, seems to be able to handle Ice Cream Sandwich rather smoothly, with no noticeable lag. Pinch to zoom reportedly also works seamlessly, as does a 3D game demoed on the system.
With Android’s source code open to outside developers, porting Android to AMD chips is not only possible, but perfectly legal. This means that while Intel plows millions of dollars in resources optimizing Android for x86, AMD can sit back and reap the benefits as the Android community continues to make the necessary tweaks to the code.
Indeed, OEMs themselves would be able to choose which platforms they preferred to run Android on, and with AMD’s CPUs historically coming in at a cheaper price point than Intel’s, it would not be a surprise to see companies like MSI plump for Android ports to AMD chipsets on cheaper tablet models.
Whether Intel can or has any interest to throw a spanner in the works for AMD’s Android aspirations, however, remains to be seen.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.