Android spawns excitement, challenges
SAN JOSE, Calif. In separate moves, ARM Ltd. has launched a new Web site
and contract design company Aricent Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif.) has announced a new development team both dedicated to helping engineers design systems with Google Android. The moves are indications of the intense interest in Android and the challenges using it.
"A lot of companies are very excited about Android, but don't know how to take the step from downloading the code to getting it on their platforms," said James Bruce, a mobile segment manager for ARM. "With Android, they have the freedom of open source, but not the expertise to take it to a product," he said.
| Logo for ARM's new Android Web site|
The ARM Web site will have pointers to software tools, hardware reference designs and white papers from as many as 35 companies now supporting Android on ARM processors. "Previously, all that information was distributed across many companies," Bruce said.
For its part, Aricent has dedicated more than three dozen people to working on a new Android team. The company, created more than three years ago in the merger of Frog Design and a Flextronics software group, has 8,000 employees, three-quarters of them in China and India.
Aricent claims it already has at least eight customers already working on Android-based designs. The company has designed systems including handsets for LG Electronics, a media gateway for Cisco Systems and a WiMax base station for Alvarion.
Android has attracted interested from a wide range of consumer and embedded systems manufacturers. It has even spawned a new Bay Area user group made up of hobbyists and working engineers.
Companies are adapting Android for a wide variety of devices because it is free, backed by Google and available as open-source code. OEMs are also interested in getting access to Google's mobile applications, its online app store and the possibility of sharing mobile ad revenues with the search giant.
A Google spokeswoman would not comment on a blog that said Google will share mobile-ad revenues with OEMs making Android devices. Nor would she say on what terms Google would make any of its mobile applications or online Android marketplace available to OEMs making non-phone devices.
Google is making available free online an Android compatibility test suite for handset makers. However, the spokeswoman would not comment on any test tools for non-phone devices.