This article will provide a brief summary of the Android* 3.2 operating system platform on Intel® Architecture. Intel® Atom™ based devices create a powerful platform to develop high performance applications using exclusive features found only on Intel® Architecture-based devices.
Android* 3.2 is the latest platform version of the Google* Operating System for Android* tablet devices. Released to developers in SDK form February 2011, this is the third release of the 3.X series of the platform.
Download the SDK tools and get started at http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html.
Android* 3.0 (codenamed Honeycomb*) was introduced to provide better support for large screen tablet devices. The initial and subsequent releases included a number of new features to improve the Android* experience on this class of device. Here is a summary of those major new features:
- New UI framework for better tablet apps
- Activity fragments ; Redesigned UI widgets with “holographic” look and feel
- Expanded home screen widgets (3D stacks, grids, lists)
- High-performance 2D and 3D graphics
- Hardware accelerated 2D graphics via OpenGL*
- Renderscript 3D engine
- Greater support for multicore processor Architectures
- Better Rich multimedia and connectivity
- HTTP live streaming
- Pluggable DRM Architecture (Widevine* Acquisition)
- Enhanced Security for enterprise: support new types of policies, including encrypted storage, password expiration, password history, etc.
- Backward Compatibility with existing apps
Android* 2.3.x (Gingerbread*) is the latest small screen platform version and is updated in parallel with the 3.x version for large screens. A future release of Android*, code named Ice Cream Sandwich* will be the next version of the Android* platform which will reportedly bring tablet and phone development back to one single version.
Atom SoC Overview
Intel® Atom™ Processor Z670 Platform overview based on 45nm technology is presented in Figure 1.
The 32nm platform Medfield processor based tablet coming in 2012 will deliver enhanced performance and lower power consumption.
Intel Architecture-powered Android* devices will have similar hardware features to existing Android* tablet devices, including:
- Sensors (Gyroscope, accelerometer, light, temperature, compass, etc.)
- Touch Screen
Intel has a joint effort in progress with Google* to enable and optimize future versions of Android* for the family of low power Intel® Atom™ processors. Figure 3 gives a nice overview of where those optimization areas are focused.
In addition to the standard Android* features Intel will offer compelling new Intel Architecture-exclusive features for developers.
Intel Architecture offers enhanced security capabilities, energy efficient performance and WiDi to take advantage of your other digital media assets.
Dalvik Applications on Intel Architecture
Applications that do not package binaries made with the NDK will have no problem running on Intel Architecture. These non-NDK apps, or Dalvik apps, are platform-independent and will run on any Android* hardware platform provided the hardware has all the features the app requires. Check out the ‘Publishing your Android* App on the Android* Market’ for a guide on getting your application in the Marketplace.
Native Applications on Intel Architecture
Native applications are classified as those that have a dependency on native code and may be platform dependent. The most common example is applications that use the Android* NDK to build and use a native library. With the android-ndk-r6b release of the Native Development Kit, building application to be compatible with Intel Architecture is easy. A simple rebuild of the native components is all that is necessary. For more information about porting your application see the guide ‘NDK Android* App Porting Methodologies’.