Apr 22, 2013

Intel claims its Atom chip can run 95 per cent of Android applications

CHIPMAKER Intel has revised its x86 chip application compatibility figures for Android.

Last week Intel told The INQUIRER that Android smartphones with Intel Atom chips could run only 70 per cent of Android apps. However the firm has revised its statement, now claiming that 95 per cent of Android apps will run on Intel x86 chipped Android smartphones.

Intel broke that figure down by saying that all apps that use the Android SDK and run on the Dalvik Java virtual machine are compatible with phones running Intel chips. However the firm said that 70 per cent of apps that use the Android native development (NDK) are compatible, but since far fewer apps use the Android NDK, Intel believes its chips can run 95 per cent of all Android apps software.

In Intel's statement to The INQUIRER, the firm said its claimed 95 per cent apps compatibility is "on par with phones powered by other processors".

Android developers can use the Android NDK if they want to port existing apps that are not written in Java, bypassing Google's Dalvik virtual machine. Google's Android NDK can also be used to squeeze a bit more performance out of apps, as it bypasses the virtual machine, however general Android development practice is to develop apps using the Android SDK, which provides greater portability courtesy of the Dalvik virtual machine.

Intel's claim that its apps compatibility is on par with other processors might be questionable, however given that users are far more restricted as to what Android apps they can run thanks to the version of Android they are stuck on, 95 per cent compatibility could well be good enough.

UK mobile operator Orange is launching the San Diego, the first Intel x86 smartphone in Europe, today. Perhaps the best thing for Intel will be people not saying anything at all about its processor as it will show there is little difference from the user's perspective between Intel powered smartphones and those of its several ARM-based rivals.


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