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Power.org, the open collaborative organization that promotes Power Architecture technology, announced on February 9, 2011 the first Android operating system (OS) port available as open source code for the embedded community. A collaborative effort between IBM, Mentor Graphics, XGI (now part of SIS) and AppliedMicro, the code is now available for download at http://code.google.com/p/ppcdroid and http://gitorious.org/ppcdroid.
This announcement, together with Freescale’s introduction of its platform to aid deployment of the Android OS on its Power Architecture technology-based products, underscores the growing use of the Android OS within the Power Architecture community.
VDC believes that Android can become a rich embedded software platform across multiple platforms, over time, particularly with its communications capabilities. For instance, Android has a wide array of connectivity options, including WiFi, Bluetooth, and wireless data over a cellular connection (e.g., GPRS, EDGE, and 3G) and in some of the most demanding, mission-critical environments. In fact, General Dynamics Itronix announced in late 2010 its Android-based GD300 rugged wearable computer for military applications, combining commercial global positioning and communications technology with battlefield-rugged computing.
Going beyond mobile devices is needed, however, into areas where mobile applications have struggled to keep pace with their desktop counterparts such as graphics, multi-media, and data management and storage. Android addresses the graphics challenge with built-in support for 2-D and 3-D graphics, including the OpenGL library. The data-storage burden is eased because the Android platform includes the popular open source SQLite database.
While Android is currently reshaping the OS architecture framework for small handheld and wearable devices, VDC believes the Android platform will help reshape the embedded hardware community on a larger scale through this decade, as well.