Intel Atom Android

Most, if not all, Android phones on the market run exclusively on an ARM architecture and Intel wants a piece of the action.

On Tuesday (that is today), Intel announced that it had ported Android to run on its Atom CPU line. Intel calls Atom its smallest chip, built with the world's smallest transistors. Atom is aimed at portable devices and consumes only 1-2.5W of power.

To make things even more interesting, Renee James, general manager of IDF (Intel Developer Forum) in Beijing, said the company has plans to port *all* mobile operating systems, not just Android, to run on Atom CPUs.

Edit: Really - all mobile operating systems? Even the iPhone OS? Didn't think so, Renee. Direct quote though, guys - don't shoot the messenger!

That is surely a daring and disruptive announcement, if Intel can pull it off.

ARM has enjoyed a 98% exclusivity in the mobile device world (data as of 2007), and Intel is obviously seeing huge opportunities in the mobile space.

Some well-known ARM CPUs used in Android devices include NVIDIA's Tegra and Qualcomm's Snapdragon.

This is great news for pretty much everyone but the CPU manufacturers using the ARM architecture - Intel always brings extreme performance and tough competition wherever it goes - just ask AMD.

Only one question remains now - will it run Crysis?


Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Greg Dorsey

    Is there any data comparing Snapdragon to one of Atom chips? I'm interested in seeing how they stack up and how much power each uses.

    Otherwise, let's hope Intel knows what it's doing and either way this is great news.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Greg, this isn't really a valid comparison but the phones running the new Atom chips that Anandtech got to play with were described as faster than anything ARM based: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2913

  • http://www.mynext.co.uk steve

    Nice work intel, had been wondering for a while how long it would be until we see intel trying for the atom or something new for the phone market

  • zinc1024

    Remember that Atom is from an ISA perspective "just an x86". That's important because the instruction set constrains the implementation re: power consumption, memory size of apps and performance. So the question is, how competitive will (can) Atom be in all these dimensions? As for porting of the iPhone OS, well it's basically MacOS underneath so it already effectively runs on x86. The real question is will Atom ever compete at the level of the big boys (Apple, Mot, Nokia, Samsung, and let's not forget newcomer Google) switching over to it? ARM has advantages in being designed at the ISA level for small memory footprint and low power. It'll be an interesting battle.