Google, Intel team up on future Android phones, tablets
Naming a powerful ally in its quest to become the king of smartphones, Google Inc. said it was teaming up with Intel Corp. to develop software aimed at running on the chipmaker's next generation mobile microchips.
At Intel’s annual developer conference in San Francisco, the two companies said Tuesday that Google's Android software would be optimized for Intel's Atom processors. Atom chips are designed to require half as much power as earlier Intel models, so are better suited for portable, battery-powered devices.
Atom chips now run in laptops and tablets from Sony, Dell, Acer and Lenovo -- but have only been used in a handful of smartphones.
Intel's decision to team up with Google comes as the search giant's Android operating system has become the world's bestselling smartphone software, accounting for 43% of the phones sold worldwide last quarter. By giving its Android software away freely to any manufacturer that wants it, Google has found that dozens of phone makers have built Android devices, including popular models from Samsung, HTC and LG.
Last month Google agreed to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for $12.5 billion, the company's largest acquisition effort to date. Motorola is one of the primary makers of Android phones, and if cleared by regulators, the purchase would allow Google to design and build its own phones. That could include the use of Intel chips.
Meanwhile in Anaheim, longtime Intel partner (and Google rival) Microsoft touted its own mobile strategy. The Redmond, Wash., software giant said the next version of its Windows operating system -– Windows 8 -- would run on tablets and smartphones that used a different low-power microchip. ARM chips, based on designs from UK-based ARM Holdings, are built by a number of companies including Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc.
-- David Sarno
Photo: Visitors look at a prototype of an Android tablet computer using Intel Atom chips during the 2011 Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images